“There may be other DYRS youth charged in [surrounding counties], but we have not been able to obtain a list of youth charged with murder in those counties to cross-reference against a list of youth committed to DYRS, as we have done for youth arrested in the District,” Mr. Nickles wrote.
David Javon Hinson, 20, of Northeast Washington, was fatally shot on Aug. 11 as he was driving at about 6 p.m. in Capitol Heights, Md. He traveled a few dozen feet before his automobile crashed into a tree. Police found him dead behind the wheel.
His juvenile history included assault, stolen auto and gun possession.
Eugene Jeffrey Dixon, 17, of Southeast Washington, was fatally shot on May 26 in the middle of the day outside an Oxon Hill, Md., pawnshop. A 21-year-old was also wounded in the shooting. Detectives said the shooting stemmed from a personal dispute.
An agency overhaul
D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray told The Times that when he takes office in January, he plans to overhaul the juvenile-justice agency, which has had three leaders this year alone. But Mr. Gray offered little insight into what an overhaul would look like.
“DYRS must be held accountable for youth under its supervision,” he said in an e-mail. Mr. Gray acknowledged overcrowding at the New Beginnings Youth Development Center, the $46 million secure facility opened last year to house and rehabilitate the District’s high-risk juvenile offenders, and he called for greater supervision of and support for a growing population of offenders placed in the community.
“While there have been reforms, there also have been far too many instances of youth involved in tragedies as perpetrators or victims of violence,” he said. “This overhaul must go hand-in-hand with addressing the root causes of crime perpetrated by children and teenagers on the front end, so they won’t get caught up in a vicious cycle of violence.”
Mr. Gray has not announced whether he plans to retain interim DYRS Director Robert Hildum, a former prosecutor who handled juvenile cases in the city’s office of the attorney general before he was appointed in July by outgoing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
Mr. Hildum, who has expressed interest in keeping the job, met for the first time last week with Mr. Gray’s transition team. He told The Times he planned to deliver an unvarnished report to the team on what he has seen in roughly five months on the job.
Meanwhile, he has embarked on his own set of reforms.
Mr. Hildum said that upon his arrival, he began a review of the case files of each of the 900 youths committed to DYRS to ensure that those in city custody were being properly supervised and receiving help appropriate to their needs.
He has since suggested electronic monitoring of youths assigned to group homes as a possible solution to a persistent problem with juveniles fleeing from custody. He also said the agency has to act faster when a youth is not where he should be. He proposed that a youth be declared a missing person after one hour and that a custody order be issued after three hours.
“The sooner we get a youth back under supervision and connected to meaningful services, the less likely they are to be harmed or to harm someone else,” he told the council during a September hearing on DYRS performance.View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jeffrey Anderson is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew Cella is The Washington Times’ Metro editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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