BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Violence Inside Baltimore’s Juvenile Detention Center
The State of Maryland is seeing space within juvenile jails shrink as more and more teens are being charged as adults. Only one of Maryland’s seven juvenile detention centers shows it currently has space. Detention centers in Maryland house both youth in the juvenile justice system, and some youth who are charged as adults. Depending on their age, the crime teens charged as adults may face range from murder to robbery. Officials say in comparison youth charged as adults, are typically older and spend several months at a facility. In one document Fox45 obtained, DJS partly attributes an uptick in violence behind bars to teens charged as adults.
Fox45 began to investigate the handling of juvenile cases after the murder of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio. The teen accused of killing Officer Caprio had been in and out of the juvenile justice system repeatedly in the months prior to her murder. During that time, Dawnta Harris spent three weeks inside Baltimore’s Juvenile Justice Center after he failed to appear in court for sentencing. The Secretary of Juvenile Services denies youth are committing more violent crimes. Budget documents show the number of youth charged with violent crimes has increased within juvenile facilities over the past three years. Baltimore County Senator James Brochin says, “ Everybody is pointing fingers, instead of pointing fingers, the State's Attorney, the judges, somebody needs to come together and say, we need to do something new." Assaults in Baltimore’s Juvenile Justice Center have increased 55% between 2015 and 2017. As for a lack of space for juveniles charged as adults, a DJS spokesman says special arrangements may be made even in facilities that appear to be full.
A DJS spokesman tells Fox45, "Regarding the population of youth residing at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, youth charged as adults are on separate units from youth in the juvenile system."