Monday, August 2, 2010

When Do the Kid Gloves Come Off?

The Examiner reports that a fight among "youth" under the auspices of the Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services broke out in none other than city hall itself in the presence of the Mayor Adrian Fenty and juvenile justice experts.

The throwdown, which involved three girls who were apparently receiving awards from the mayor as among the most successfully rehabilitated offenders, involved chairs, fists, and went on for several minutes before D.C. fire and rescue workers arrived at the Wilson Building to reestablish control. 

An investigation by Attorney General Peter Nickles that began after three DYRS killed Shaw Middle School principal Brian Betts revealed that 71 percent of the juvenile offenders in DYRS were convicted again within two years and that youths had been disappearing for weeks at a time before the agency sought an arrest order.  Thus far in 2010, at least 10 youths who were supposed to have been under the supervision of the agency have been charged with murder, and six of the agency's youth have been slain themselves.

I keep seeing the word "youth," but check the ages. 

In the Wilson Building incident, police arrested Grace Ebiasah, 18, Anna Ebiasah, 20, and Deanna Morris, 19, with fighting in a public place.

In the Brian Betts' murder, the youth charged in his killing -- Sharif T. Lancaster, Alante Saunders and Deontra Q. Gray-- were all 18 years old, had lengthy criminal records, and were at large.

Many of the "youth" that are under DYRS supervision are actually not youth at all.  They are often over 18 years of age, yet still get treated as if they are children.  With respect to these "girls," the city does not even have a holding facility, given that New Beginnings only serves boys.

At some point, isn't it time for the city to take off the kid gloves?


Anonymous said...

ok, a youth is 24 ? yes or no.

new voter

Charles Walker said...

The DYRS needs a deep housecleaning. I think that the new director Robert Hildum understand that better than most.

Anonymous said...

Most definitely not youth! But I worry more about the "youth" in the Mount Vernon Square area who are committing crimes. I wish the judicial system, the police and the mayor's office did something about it. Thanks Cary.

Charles Walker said...

I guess I was wrong about the new DYRS director. Sorry.