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SIMMONS: Face it- Some young offenders won’t reform
Question of the Day
It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Jim Graham, the Democratic lawmaker who today will lead his merry band of softhearted, progressive lawmakers in grilling the director of the troubled D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), whose policies mock Lady Justice’s symbols of impartiality, power and the act of balancing law and order.
“I’m looking for revenue to fund the necessary services of DYRS,” he said recently about the agency, which spends more than $900 a day on each juvenile in the system. “I want more bang for that buck,” he said. “I’m in favor of rehabilitation, but we need to acknowledge that these are dangerous young people. I don’t see the vocational training or the mental health care or the substance-abuse treatment or even gang intervention that we need to make rehabilitation a reality.”
See what I mean? He’s punch-drunk from repeatedly being sucker-punched by liberal philosophies that assume all young offenders can be rehabilitated.
Young violent criminals, like fully grown ones, should be locked down in tough-as-nails institutions.
The recent case of a young man who escaped from DYRS’ New Beginnings Youth Development Center is a perfect example of the myth.
On April 18, an 18-year-old severely beat a 20-year corrections officer; freed another youth; beat the officer again; stole his keys, cell phone and wallet; and used a ladder to get over razor-wire-topped fencing before riding off in the officer’s vehicle.
DYRS is supposed to keep young lawbreakers confined so they don’t hurt themselves or anybody else, but young people are always absconding.
Moreover, this guy had violent run-ins for years for theft and burglary and had had his share of fights while locked up.
After escaping, he was on the loose for two weeks and was just recaptured on Monday.
As things stand now, Mr. Graham is right to want to publicize photographs of such escapees so the public has far more information than a generic physical description when they’re trying to watch their own backs when these jokers break loose.
But Mr. Graham and his progressive colleagues on the Committee on Human Services, Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, Michael Brown and Tommy Wells, need to do far more.
They need to focus more on detaining and punishing youths instead of handling them with worn-out kid gloves.
The HPV vaccine and sinister politics: All vaccines come with caution signs, and the human papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV, is no exception.
HPV “is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so combating it should be a top priority of the medical and pharmaceutical communities.
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About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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