New York Times, December 11, 1999

Boot Camp Program Suspended
By The Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Gov. Parris Glendening on Saturday ordered the immediate suspension of Maryland's military-style boot camp program after reports that juvenile offenders had been assaulted and abused.

Fourteen guards accused of abuse have been placed on administrative duty, said Glendening spokesman Mike Morrill.

``We are outraged by the patterns of abuse that are being alleged at the Department of Juvenile Justice's boot camps,'' Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in a written statement. ``Violence will not be tolerated.''

They said the three camps in western Maryland would be converted into ``interim residential centers.''

Maj. Gen. James F. Fretterd, commander of the Maryland National Guard, will take over interim supervision.

The three camps will maintain their academic, counseling and drug treatment programs. Independent monitors from the Department of Social Services will be at the centers 24 hours a day.

There will be no new admissions to the centers ``until the structure of future programs there is determined,'' the statement said. The 79 juveniles still at the centers will stay there until officials can find other places for them.

``Many of these juveniles are violent and repeat offenders, and they present a continuing danger to the safety and security of Maryland citizens and communities,'' the statement said.

Eyewitness reports in The (Baltimore) Sun that guards in at least one camp routinely assault delinquents led the governor to order an investigation.

On Friday, a judge pulled 26 juvenile delinquents from the state-run camps after hearing testimony from boys that camp guards had thrown them through windows, stuck thumbs in their eyes and routinely beat them.

On Saturday, a review panel appointed by the governor to look into the allegations of abuse at the camps met to discuss recommendations to prevent abuse from happening. Some members suggested the camps' command structure needs to be more clearly defined.

``There has to be a system of accountability and control,'' said panel Chairman Bishop Robinson, a former state secretary of public safety and correctional services. Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

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