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Could the nation’s airports be the next pressure points in the government shutdown? Also on our Monday rundown: Calls go out to improve food safety; and a new report renews calls for solutions to Detroit’s water woes.

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Report: Youth Prisons Aren't Fit for Kids

A new report calls for all youth prisons to be shut down and the focus shifted to community based treatment programs. (
A new report calls for all youth prisons to be shut down and the focus shifted to community based treatment programs. (
October 24, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Children should not be kept behind bars, according a new report that examines the ineffectiveness of youth prisons in Maryland and other states.

The research from The Annie E. Casey Foundation pulls together evidence of the failings of youth correctional facilities and recommends they all be closed.

Foundation president and CEO Patrick McCarthy says these prisons have high recidivism rates and do not improve long term outcomes for youths.

"These institutions fail at protecting the community, they fail at turning young lives around, they are unconscionably expensive, they’re prone to abuse, they defy reform, and the bottom line is we have alternatives," he states.

In Maryland, there are 13 correctional facilities for minors.

McCarthy says those youths are incarcerated for low-risk offenses and often don't get the guidance and support they need to get back on track.

Juvenile detention facilities often are overcrowded and understaffed.

An example that made national headlines is the Cheltenham Center in Maryland, which at one point crowded 100 boys into cottages meant for a maximum capacity of 24.

McCarthy notes there is an enormous financial toll for youth prisons. While costs vary state-to-state, states pay on average about $90,000 a year for every youth in a juvenile facility.

"The money that we are wasting now on these incredibly expensive as well as ineffective institutions, we've got to reinvest that money in things that work,” he stresses. “We don't have any magic solutions for juvenile crime, but we have many programs that have evidence of success that we need to invest our dollars in."

The number of young people incarcerated in Maryland continues to drop.

In 2006, The Annie E. Casey Foundation says there were more than 1,100 locked up. Now there are around 700.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD