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State plans new juvenile facility in county

January 28, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The state Department of Juvenile Justice plans to build a $6.3 million juvenile detention center next to the Maryland Correctional Institution off Sharpsburg Pike south of Hagerstown.

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The new detention center would replace an existing 8-bed facility on Jonathan Street in Hagerstown, which would close, department spokesman Bob Kannenberg said Wednesday during a telephone interview from his Baltimore office.

Boys from Washington, Garrett and Allegany counties who have been arrested and are ordered to be placed in detention while they await adjudication would be taken to the facility.

It also would house boys currently sent to the Alfred D. Noyes Center in Rockville, Md., he said.

Kannenberg said the primary reason for building the juvenile facility is to keep detained juveniles closer to where they live and where they are to appear in court.

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Currently, some youths taken to the Rockville facility could be as much as three hours away from their parents and court appointments, Kannenberg said.

"There are fragile family ties for a lot of them and the distance creates problems," he said.

The travel time is costly for the state which transports the youths to their court appearances, he said.

It could be at least two years before construction of a new detention center begins. Kannenberg did not know if there was an expected opening date for the facility.

Spending plans obtained from the governor's office indicate the facility could not open before 2003.

The new center would have 24-beds and is expected to employ 30 people full time. The building is to be about 27,400 square feet, and would have a fenced-in recreational area, Kannenberg said.

There is no money in next year's state budget for the detention facility.

However, Gov. Parris Glendening plans to set aside $200,000 in the Fiscal Year 2001 state budget to pay for design plans. The 2002 budget would include $6.3 million for the construction of the facility, and the 2003 budget would include $135,000 to equip the detention center, according to budget projections obtained from the governors office Wednesday.

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