By Melissa White, CFCC Student Fellow 2013-2014
On November 6, 2013, the Center for Families, Children and the Courts Student Fellows and professors visited the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center located at 300 North Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. We were fortunate enough to receive a tour of the facility by Rudy Adams, the Center’s managing director. We first met with Mr. Adams in a conference room to learn a little about the Center itself and how the Center functions.
Mr. Adams explained that this Center is only 1 of 3 of its kind in the nation. People from all across the world have come to visit this Center to see how things are done. This Center is unique in part because it is a multi-agency facility with a combined inter-government workforce housing the following departments:
- Department of Human Resources (including Baltimore City’s Department of Social Services)
- Office of the Public Defender
- Baltimore City State’s Attorneys’ Office
- Community Family Resource Center
- Baltimore City Circuit Court (Juvenile Division)
- Baltimore City Clerk of the Court Office (Division of Juvenile Causes)
- Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office
- Baltimore City Police Department
In addition to the aforementioned departments, there is also a detention center within the facility that provides residential housing for children in custody awaiting adjudication and disposition of delinquency cases.
I was amazed by this Center. I did not know it even existed prior to participating in the CFCC Student Fellows Program this semester. This Center is a great model for how Juvenile Justice should be handled. It was a one stop shop which seemed to make sense for an efficient handling of a case from beginning to end. Housing the multiple departments involved in these sorts of cases, all in one facility, is brilliant. Instead of having to waste time traveling or hearing back from another agency, you are only footsteps away.
Additionally, the tone of this facility was family friendly and fostered a welcoming atmosphere. There was artwork made by children in the community displayed in the hallways. There seemed to be several people within the agencies we passed on our tour who were dedicated to the Center’s mission and wanted to provide people in need with the resources available to assist them. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to tour this Center and hope to see replicates appear in other jurisdictions in the near future!