Today, House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell called upon Governor O’Malley to ask for the resignation of Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore. Delegate O’Donnell made the following statement:
“The Department of Juvenile Services is an executive branch agency, and its secretary serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The state of affairs at DJS is untenable, and it is time for the Governor to act with the resolve and the executive leadership necessary to establish the accountability he so boldly assured to the people of Maryland. I have therefore called upon Governor O’Malley to ask for the resignation of Secretary DeVore, and for him to seek out and appoint a new administrator and a new leadership team for the Department of Juvenile services. The Governor needs a department head who will respond to the failures of the system, and the community that depends on the system.”
A formal request for the resignation of Secretary DeVore was hand- delivered to the Governor earlier today.
Since the O’Malley administration has taken office, there have been over 100 escapes and AWOLs from Maryland’s juvenile justice facilities. In one instance, violent offenders escaped from Cheltenham, members of the surrounding community were not notified by the Department for three days, and learned of the escape through media reports.There have been numerous assaults on children in the care of the system and on employees of the Department. In July 2009 a juvenile being monitored by the Department shot and critically wounded 5 year old Raven Wyatt. Most recently, a teacher at the Cheltenham juvenile justice facility was murdered at the facility itself – the suspect in the case is a 13 year old juvenile in Department custody. In a particularly horrifying survey released this January by the US Department of Justice, over 30% of youth held at the Backbone Mountain Youth Center in western Maryland reported being sexually victimized by staff at the facility.