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A Semblance Of Family For MD Juvenile Offenders During Holiday

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A staff member of the Alfred D. Noyes Children's Center, a state-run youth detention facility in Rockville, Maryland, stands watch over the 'dessert' table during a Thanksgiving meal presided by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.
Mana Rabiee
A staff member of the Alfred D. Noyes Children's Center, a state-run youth detention facility in Rockville, Maryland, stands watch over the 'dessert' table during a Thanksgiving meal presided by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.

By Mana Rabiee

As Thanksgiving approaches, those responsible for offenders at one juvenile detention center in Rockville, Maryland are trying to create some semblance of family away from home.

Maryland's Secretary of Juvenile Services, Donald DeVore, stands in the middle of the canteen at the Alfred D. Noyes juvenile detention center.

He's come for a Thanksgiving meal and he talks to a quiet audience of 50 young men and women there for a range of crimes including theft, assault and drug use.

DeVore doesn't mention of their offenses. He focuses on a positive message.

"At this time we want to be with you, to share food with you and make sure you know that we do care about you," DeVore says.

John Dowdy is the center's Superintendent. He says during holidays visiting hours are expanded and the courts try to release children to their families. But for the ones who stay.

"I wish that someone from their family will come out and visit them on Wednesday night. That will give them some hope and some motivation and let them know that even though they made a mistake, their family still support them, their community still support them, still loves them," Dowdy says.

Lead4Life, a non-profit that works closely with the Center, is trying to secure holiday gifts for the residents.

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