Program Offers Alternative to Juvenile Detention Teens

Baltimore’s PACT Center, which recently expanded to include girls, helps teens address underlying issues that may lead to their anti-social or deviant behavior.

Posted: 11/02/2011 01:14 PM EDT
Filed Under court, Crime

Juvenile Detention Centers, Baltimore's PACT Center, teens

A Baltimore, Maryland, program that is meant to reduce the number of African-American boys in the juvenile justice system is being expanded to include girls.

 

The PACT (Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Training) Evening Reporting Center is a part of the Yo! Baltimore program, which uses two youth-friendly centers to serve out-of-school youth and young adults citywide.

 

The PACT Center specifically serves youth 14 to 17 years of age who would otherwise be in a juvenile detention camp with the Department of Social Services. Instead of being in detention, however, the center uses a youth development model to collaborate with participants, their families and the Department of Juvenile Services to develop a plan which addresses underlying issues that lead to the teen’s anti-social or deviant behavior.

 

Some of their services include "topic of the day" dinner discussions with adults and peers, workouts in a fully equipped fitness center with a professional trainer, an opportunity to write rap poetry, cut digital CDs and learn about performance from experts, other activities, and assessments including mental health and substance surveys and home visits.

 

The expansion to include girls began last month. Officials say they expect to serve up to 60 girls annually and include programming on issues that are common to girls in the justice system, including pregnancy, family relationships and trauma.

 

Youth must be referred by the court in order to participate and must agree, along with their parents, to electronic monitoring.

 

 

To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.

 

(Photo: Commercial Appeal /Landov)

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