Right now, included among the inmates at the Baltimore City Detention Center are 43 youths who have been charged and tried as adults — they are kids, convicted of things like “murder, rape, assault, handgun violations and robbery with a deadly weapon.” Maryland has been tasked with improving the conditions these young people endure –which have included “assaults, lax oversight by correction officers, and stifling heat” according to the Sun.
Many have been advocating for investing in education and other preventive measures or large-scale juvenile justice reform to reduce the number of youths charged as adults in the first place, but the much likelier action will be simply to build a $70 million, 120-bed youth jail — which is of course ultimately easier than transforming the justice system, whatever the price tag.
The youth jail was originally approved in 2006, but was then stalled in the legislature since 2010 while other options were explored, and opponents of the jail protested its construction. But after that relatively short delay, it looks like the jail is inevitable. And whatever your opinion is regarding its necessity, fewer rec centers and fire companies and more casinos and jails doesn’t exactly project the image of a city on its way up.