BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The new state youth detention center has opened and it replaces the Baltimore City Detention Center that was shut down two years ago.
The goal is to rehabilitate youth offenders charged as adults, rather than simply warehouse them.
For years juvenile offenders charged as adults were locked up at the Baltimore City Detention Center where conditions were so bad for adults Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan deemed the facility inhumane and shut it down.
The new youth center is a $35 million upgrade built to comply with a 2007 Department of Justice agreement with the State for significant improvements for juveniles in custody.
“One, it was the conditions of confinement. Two, it was mental health. Three, it was medical. Four, it was education and five, having the proper space,” said public safety and correctional secretary Stephen Moyer.
The facility can house up to 60, 50 males and 10 females. It also includes classrooms and provides medical and dental services including behavioral health.
“Though we wish this facility was not necessary we intend to use this facility to turn the lives of our troubled youth,” Moyer said.
The building design is rated among the best in the country.
Those who have been opposed to building the new jail have said the money should have been invested in programs to keep young people out of jail in the first place.
The juveniles being held now will move in at the end of the month.