Press Release
State of Maryland
Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Communications Office Contact
Rick Binetti
410-339-5007 ~ rbinetti@dpscs.state.md.us

State of Maryland Suspends the Construction of New Baltimore City Jail
For Youth Charged as Adults
Five year focus on driving down violent crime shifts State’s priority to treatment programs

Print this press release

Baltimore, MD (January 17, 2013) – Today, the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) announced an alternative to the proposed 120-bed Baltimore City Detention Center for youth who are charged as adults. A key component of the alternative proposal is a Baltimore City-led plan to find a location within the City for a proposed regional treatment facility by October. This would include the renovation of DPSCS’s Prerelease Unit to accommodate youth charged as adults. The proposed regional treatment facility would also allow DJS to lower its average daily detention population at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, opening up space for that facility to hold more youth charged as adults.

Since 2007 violent crime in Maryland has been driven down 30% and juvenile homicides in Baltimore City driven down 50% over the same time. This is reflected in the downward trends in the average monthly youth populations in both DJS and DPSCS facilities since 2007 – driven down 34% for DJS and 69% for DPSCS. State and local law enforcement have successfully driven down violent crime, which prompted the two Departments to develop an alternative plan that would better suit the needs of Baltimore’s youth population. Once the alternative plan was developed, Secretaries Abed and Maynard met with a coalition of youth advocates and with legislators to gain support for the plan.

“This solution is a win-win for everyone involved,” said DJS Secretary Sam Abed. “We looked at the data, worked with our partners, and created an alternative plan that will better serve the needs of Baltimore City’s youth.”

Delegate Aisha Braveboy, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus added, “We have been working on this issue from the very beginning moving towards a solution to assist our youth and strengthen our community. We support this proposal and our continued partnership with the State.”

The alternative plan includes renovating a smaller existing facility located within DPSCS’ Baltimore City complex, the Baltimore City Prerelease Unit. DJS will assist DPSCS in the design of the refurbished facility to ensure that it meets national standards for youth confinement, including health, mental health services, treatment programming, educational and vocational training infrastructure, and recreational space. DJS will also train DPSCS staff on management, safety and security for youth populations.

“In the past five years we have worked closely with local law enforcement and have driven down violent crime, especially crime against youth in Baltimore City,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard. “As we continue to see a steady decline in youth charged as adults in Baltimore City, we believe we’ve come up with a solution that best meets the needs of our population of youth charged as adults, and the juvenile population overall.”

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has further committed to an ambitious capital plan, investing millions of dollars into planning, designing and building future treatment facilities.