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Posted at 10:11 PM ET, 07/26/2010

Reason to question the shakeup at DYRS

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Liz Ryan
Washington

The July 23 editorial “Judged too soon” criticized me and other advocates for raising serious concerns about Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s commitment to juvenile justice reform and for calling for an investigation of D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles’s involvement in the recent shakeup at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and other decisions regarding juvenile justice. The Post alleged that I and others acted rashly and without merit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The mayor’s decision to abruptly and without consultation replace Marc A. Schindler as interim director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services should alone raise questions. The mayor’s decision to replace Mr. Schindler with Robert Hildum, a D.C. assistant attorney general who at Mr. Nickles’s request authored a “confidential” report criticizing juvenile justice reform, raises more.

The fact that I and others asked for an investigation of Mr. Nickles’s involvement in Mr. Schindler’s replacement and other decisions on juvenile justice demonstrates our commitment to reducing youth recidivism — the opposite of what The Post accuses us of.

Despite the fact that Mr. Nickles was warned by Judge Herbert Dixon about a potential conflict of interest for his role in the Jerry M. case regarding the District’s juvenile justice system, it appears that Mr. Nickles repeatedly gave counsel to the mayor that a reasonable observer could view as a conflict with his previous position as lead plaintiff’s counsel.

I ask The Post’s editorial board: Whose rushed judgment? Yours or mine?

The writer is president and chief executive of the Campaign for Youth Justice.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | July 26, 2010; 10:11 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Mayor Fenty  
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Comments

This is one area where I agree with the Mayor. DYRS is nothing but a revolving door for repeat offenders...it does not rehabilitate youth, but encourages the behavior by lack of action. The stats from the agency are completely wrong and political. DYRS is a disgrace. There has to be an area in juvie justice that fits in the mold of public safety and rehabilitation. Under Schindle, the community was at risk. Hopefully, Hildum will take the agency to a place where community safety is a factor and dangerous youth are not let loose on the unsuspecting public.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | July 27, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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