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All Juvenile Facilities In Maryland In Compliance With Federal Mandates

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By Kavitha Cardoza

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley says all juvenile facilities in the state are now in compliance with federal mandates. But advocates for incarcerated youth say it's important to make sure progress continues.

Federal monitors found the the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center had improved in 29 areas, including suicide prevention, mental health services and behavior management.

This is third and last facility in the state to exit from federal oversight. Shaun Adamec, a spokesperson for Governor O'Malley, says the center has made important changes.

"We have new innovative staff training programs, we've cut down capacity from 147 to 120, we've increased staffing levels. Generally we've directed the appropriate amount of resources," says Adamec.

Sonia Kumar with the ACLU of Maryland works with juvenile offenders. She says lifting federal oversight is just the first step.

"Federal oversight only happens in the worst of the worst cases or extreme cases, so emerging from federal oversight is not an indication that the system is functioning where it should be. It just means that it's meeting some bare minimum," says Kumar.

And she says without federal oversight, there's more need for the state to monitor the facilities closely.

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