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Maryland youth detention center cleared for use as possible quarantine site

State officials have cleared out a juvenile detention facility in Western Maryland for use as a coronavirus quarantine facility if such a need arises.

Five youth who were being held at the all-male, high security Savage Mountain Youth Center in Allegany County were transferred over the weekend to the Victor Cullen Center in Frederick County.

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“We felt that was the best thing to do, just kind of make sure we have that facility just in case,” said Eric Solomon, a spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Services. “Since our population is on the lower side, at least we have some flexibility as to where we can move kids if we need to.”

Savage Mountain was well below its capacity of 24. Victor Cullen now has 26 youth committed, and has a capacity for 48. Staff from Savage Mountain have been spread around to other facilities, Solomon said.

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Though classes at public schools statewide has been cancelled for the foreseeable future, the state’s secretaries of education and juvenile services agreed that instruction will continue at the juvenile detention facilities. Like other state employees deemed “critical,” the teachers and staff are getting double pay.

Nick Moroney, of the Attorney General Office’s Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, said continuing instruction is necessary.

“It’s a really good idea that education goes forward, and not just for the normal reason that kids need and are entitled to education," Moroney said. “You’re talking about six hour of the kids’ days - they have nothing else to do except be in class.”

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Emanuel Brown, the judge in charge of the city’s juvenile division, did not respond to a request for comment about whether judges are managing the docket differently in light of coronavirus concerns.

Solomon said visitation has been suspended except for parents, and they must go through health screenings.

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