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D.C. Council Wants To Probe Incident At New Beginnings

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By Patrick Madden

The D.C. Council is pressing to find out exactly what happened over the weekend at the city's youth detention center in Laurel Maryland. Several staff members were injured during a confrontation with young offenders at the facility.

Council member Tommy Wells says there are two big questions stemming from Sunday night's disturbance at the New Beginnings facility. First, was the place adequately staffed? At the time of the incident, New Beginnings was housing at least ten more occupants than it was designed to hold. Wells says judges are committing juveniles to the city's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services at double the rate they were five years ago and he says DYRS may need more more beds or staff.

The other question: why was the 20-year-old who authorities allege struck a staff member and broke his jaw not arrested? Wells says he's baffled that DYRS could not share information with police about the incident because of confidentiality laws.

"We have operated a juvenile facility out there for 20, 30, plus years and for it all of sudden have a jurisdictional problem does not make any sense," says Wells.

Wells heads the committee that oversees DYRS and says he hopes to schedule a hearing on these issues.

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