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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Md. juvenile services sec. to leave post

By Associated Press

Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore said Thursday he won't seek reappointment to the post, after a difficult tenure marked by a critical state audit and a variety of unfavorable reports by an independent state monitor.

DeVore, 61, said he is pursuing a job opportunity in another state.

"A new job opportunity presented itself and I felt it was the right time to pursue it," DeVore, who has headed the long-troubled agency since March 2007, said in a statement.

DeVore's announcement came a day after he was criticized by Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot for long delays in bringing contracts to the Board of Public Works for approval. A state audit also cited the delays last month.

Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said the governor expected some turnover in his Cabinet as he prepares for his second term. He said a national search will be conducted for DeVore's replacement, with the goal of naming a successor by the start of the General Assembly session in January.

"DJS is a long-troubled agency and certainly was in a lot worse shape when Gov. O'Malley and Don DeVore inherited it," Adamec said. "The biggest priority is going to be maintaining and improving the pace of progress."

There were bright spots during DeVore's tenure. Maryland's juvenile facilities are no longer under federal oversight. Both Charles Hickey School and Cheltenham Youth Facility exited from federal oversight in June 2008. The final facility, the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, successfully exited from federal oversight in August 2010.

But the department was often criticized in reports by the state's independent juvenile justice monitor.

The Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit issued a special report last month criticizing the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George's County over the killing of a 65-year-old teacher there in February, allegedly by a 13-year-old boy detained there.

"Some responsibility for her death must be placed on Cheltenham's outdated buildings and a compromised security culture," the report said. "Responsibility must also be placed on the departmental leadership that should have addressed these issues."

The monitor also criticized the department last year, saying it "hampered" an investigation into a violent escape of 14 youths at the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville.

By Associated Press  | November 19, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
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Comments

Yeah, a 'resignation' but the dude has another state job and is still feeding from the public trough...so glad my tax dollars will continue to supply him with a salary and full benefits..NOT!!

Posted by: 10bestfan | November 19, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Let me tell you something as a white boy ... until you've been locked up in one of those Maryland Juvenile torture cottages, no words could express, or convey the kind of animals that lurk behind those doors. I was a 17 year old middle class white boy who violated probation for breaking into a house. Montgomery Judge Alfred Noyes sent me up for an indefinite period to Maryland Trading School-Cub Hill, now Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County which is Cheltenham’s sister school. I was jumped several times by 4 and 5 of Baltimore City's finest. I was beaten trying to protect my rear-end. Being a paper boy, I was in great physical shape. The bleeding from both eyes couldn't be stopped for several hours in the clinic. I saw so many young white boys "go under".
An independent monitor faulted the juvenile justice department for not following past recommendations to reduce cases of assault and abuse. The report said further that there has been a "lack of cooperation" between investigating entities responsible for looking into incidents of abuse involving youths in the state juvenile detention center. "The level of abuse is simply grotesque," said Stacey Gurian-Sherman, who is director of JJ Fair, a community-based advocacy group for children that is based in Takoma Park.
I was released after I turned 18. From there I went to Vietnam .... I don't know which place was the worst, but I still remember the names of the animals who molested me. The governor said he closed it down, but it's not totally closed down. There’s a holding facility, and a sex rehabilitation center (what a coincidence) still located there. Because Maryland lacks residential treatment programs, many youths remain at Hickey and other detention centers for months while state officials try to find places in or out of state that will take them.

Posted by: reesemichael | November 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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