Youth Corrections in Maryland: The Dawning of a New Era

Jeffrey A. Butts (1988). Youth Corrections in Maryland: The Dawning of a New Era. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Center for the Study of Youth Policy.

In closing the Montrose School for juvenile offenders, Maryland joins a small but growing number of states that are shifting substantial portions of their juvenile corrections dollars away from large institutions and into community-based programs. While some juvenile offenders will still require secure placement, Maryland officials believe that the overwhelming majority can be handled just as effectively and safely through a continuum of community-based programs that provide services ranging from traditional counseling and probation to intensive supervision and offender tracking.

This paper describes the events which led to the closing of the Montrose school. Due to a convergence of administrative leadership, organization, and political mobilization, Maryland was able to make the type of fundamental, structural change that often eludes other states. Although the events in Maryland were unique in some ways, the success of the Montrose closure may prove instructive for policymakers and administrators confronting over-burdened and unresponsive juvenile correctional systems in their own states.