Occupy Baltimore – and media – booted from public sidewalk near youth jail site

Youth jail opponents meet state troopers, city police and a SWAT team on Martin Luther King's birthday.

youth jailtroopers

State Troopers at site of a planned youth jail in Baltimore, hours before government crews tore down the symbolic “schoolhouse” that protesters built.

Photo by: Louie Krauss

There seemed to be two “enemies of the state” yesterday at the Occupy Baltimore protest against a planned juvenile detention center in East Baltimore.

One was the 75 protesters themselves, who were met by dozens of Maryland State Police, Baltimore City Police and SWAT team members in riot gear, armed with guns and batons. They eventually arrested six of the “Schools not Jails” demonstrators and charged them with trespassing after they built a symbolic schoolhouse at the empty lot where the $100 million facility is to be built.

But the other big target was the local news media, scrutinized and sidelined in a more-severe-than-usual way.

“All the media, back behind the perimeter!” Baltimore City Police Detective Kevin Brown shouted to the gaggle of reporters and TV cameramen assembled for the confrontation.

City police keep media  far from view of the arrests being made by State Police. (Photo by Fern Shen)

City police keep media far from view of the arrests being made by State Police. (Photo by Fern Shen)

A 7 p.m. sweep-through by Brown a phalanx of police pushed the cameras and most reporters back hundreds of yards away, on the other side of Monument St., behind yellow tape. Once they were safely cordoned off to the south, the baton-wielding SWAT team moved in from the north.

About two dozen of them closed in on the crowd of 20 protesters, standing beside the large green tent they had erected on Forrest Street, between Monument and Madison streets.

Four of the six people arrested yesterday. (Photo by Louie Krauss)

Four of the six people arrested yesterday. (Photo by Louie Krauss)

Just inside the chain link fence was the symbolic “Little Red Schoolhouse” that the six arrested protesters had erected hours earlier. A green city garbage truck and a couple of public works employees were poised, as was a city ambulance.

“Money for jobs and education! Not for mass incarceration!” the protesters chanted. Most, braced for arrest, had written their legal advisor’s number on their forearms with a green Sharpie.

Steering clear of the press corral, The Brew remained amid these protesters and watched most of what happened.

Here’s what we saw yesterday, and what happened to those two structures.

Following in Dr. King’s Footsteps

The day began with about 200 chanting protesters rallying in front of Central Booking on the Fallsway.

The organizers (the Baltimore Algebra Project, as well as people who had participated in Occupy Baltimore) intended the Martin Luther King Day action as the start of a five-day “pop-up” occupation.

Mimicking the non-violent, civil disobedience protests staged by Dr. King and other black activists in the 1950s and 1960s, they planned to stay in a tent at the site of the proposed jail at 600 E. Monument St.

They would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, have speakers and teach-ins, talk to the media and call attention to their opposition to the planned 180-bed juvenile detention facility.

In place of the detention center, the protesters have called for increased government spending on Baltimore’s city schools, especially physical improvements to its aging stock of buildings.

They have also called for fully funding Baltimore’s youth recreation centers and held organizational meetings to oppose Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s plan to turn some rec centers to private operators, or close them, as a budget-cutting move.

Rally crowd heads past adult correctional facilities to site of youth jail. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Rally crowd heads past adult correctional facilities to the site of the planned youth jail. (Photo by Louie Krauss)

Wendell France, Commissioner of the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services for the Department of Public Safety, told one of the participants yesterday, Kate Khatib, that protesters would not be allowed on detention center site.

“The site itself is not safe,” he said, adding that the sidewalk, by contrast, was “not a problem.”

Khatib said the group might sleep on the sidewalk or at least return there during the day this week to make their point: “Our dream is more schools and less jails. Better priorities for our public funding.”

Almost-finished "school," complete with book display, hours before it was dismantled. (Photo by Louie Krauss)

Almost finished “school,” complete with book display several hours before it was dismantled. (Photo by Louie Krauss)

Rally speakers expanded on the point.

“Since the 1970s, our public schools have gradually become more and more prison-like,” said Lester Spence, assistant professor of political science and Africana studies at Johns Hopkins University, addressing the crowd with a bullhorn.

“At my son’s middle school, there’s a police officer in the middle of the school, with a gun, directing traffic – and we now take that as normal,” he said. “It shouldn’t be!”

Members of the Algebra Project, a non-profit that advocates for public education funding and other issues, said high school students tell them they don’t want to commit the kind of crimes that land them in jail, but they have few choices.

“’I don’t have a job,’ they say, ‘but I want a job. I’m on the corner but I don’t want to be,’” said Algebra Project youth organizer Maryland Shaw.

Among the other notable audience members were venerable Jonah House peace activist Elizabeth McAlister, Algebra Project director Jay Gillen and Baltimore chapter head of the National Action Network, Marvin L. “Doc” Cheatham, who briefly spoke.

Marching off to Jail (Site)

At the large vacant lot, protesters entered through a gap in the chain link fence. Pieces of the schoolhouse structure were rapidly handed over the top of the fence as police looked on. Out came boxes of nails, cordless drills, ladders.

As Mike McGuire, Greg Hill, Nima Shahidi and Taimak Holland assembled the “school,” six or seven state troopers lined up just inside the fence, facing out to the rest of the crowd. Two women, Anne Marie Rush and Iris Kirsch, an English teacher at Heritage High School in Lake Clifton, slipped in, as well, before police closed the gap in the fence with a chain and padlock.

Iris Kirsch reads from the autobiography of Frederick Douglass

Iris Kirsch reads from the autobiography of Frederick Douglass. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Kirsch led the crowd in a mic-check reading of an excerpt from the autobiography of former Maryland slave, Frederick Douglass.

These were the six people police later carried off the site, as cell phone camcorders rolled and protesters chanted “Shame! Shame!” Khatib said the group’s legal counsel confirmed that they had been taken to Central Booking.

While the schoolhouse had been coming together, others were erecting the tent, one of those used at Occupy Baltimore’s McKeldin Square encampment, organizers said. Police came and informed protesters the tent would have to come down. Chris LaVoie replied that some who planned to stay “need it to sleep in.”

The officer, who refused to give his name to the media, said the protesters should take the tent down themselves if they ever wanted to get it back. (One in the crowd recalled that it had cost $800.)

“At 5:18 that tent has to come down,” the officer yelled.

About two hours later, police cleared the TV cameras and marched in.

They separating the crowd from the tent and finally pulled the tent down. It went into city trash trucks. “What’s with all the riot gear? We don’t see a riot here,” the group chanted.

Baltimore City Police SWAT teams holding off protesters while city workers tear down and trash the group's tent. (Photo by Fern Shen

Baltimore City Police SWAT teams holding off protesters while city workers tear down and trash the group’s tent. (Photo by Fern Shen)

After the tent was gone, Det. Brown, of the the Baltimore City Police, came over and yelled at me to leave: “You’re supposed to be with the other media outside the perimeter.”

Asked why the press had to leave, Brown, said, “I don’t have to tell you that, I just have to escort you over there.”

He warned that I’d be subject to the same treatment “they” were, indicating the protesters but declining to say what that treatment was.

A police officer whose uniform badge said, “A. Brown, Tactical Commander,” was asked the same question. He answered gruffly, “You just go over there!”

After I and many others left, they pulled the schoolhouse down.

Many thanks to IndypendentReader for sticking it out and making this video:

In the gray light of this morning (1/17), we took some shots of the grassy lot, now empty save for three State Police SUVs and one unmarked cruiser.

Fresh signs along the Monument St. perimeter of the lot where city workers removed the symbolic "Little Red Schoolhouse" last night. Below, State Trooper SUVs parked inside the lot this morning. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Fresh signs along the Monument St. perimeter of the lot where city workers removed the symbolic “Little Red Schoolhouse” last night. Below, State Trooper SUVs parked inside the lot this morning. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

A Maryland Incident Command truck was stationed on Forrest St. alongside the lot this morning. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

A Maryland Incident Command truck was stationed on Forrest St. alongside the lot this morning. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

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  • Jed Weeks

    It would be nice to note in the article that there is a real basis for these protests.

    A study by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency states the proposed jail is likely much too large, and suggests that with investments in the right programs, the jail may be entirely unnecessary.

    Neither The Brew nor The Sun mentioned this fact in their articles.

    Study here:

    • Anonymous

      From B Brew: Thanks for this important info, Jed.

    • MCaz

      Apart from the NCCD study, I’d like to point out that many children and youth in juvenile justice facilities are there because they need serious mental health treatment and there is no place for them to go. We routinely place about 10% of youth of state ( because we are unable to meet their specialized needs. The youth are detained because there are no mental health providers willing to take say, an older sex offender or fire starter; that’s what accounts for all those “pending placement” lines.

      We spend more on mental health services than general administration (see p 22 of above document) in Baltimore.

      So, how about instead of spending $104 million on a new center, we spend that money taking care of kids who are pending placement? On mental health services for juvenile offenders in secure residential facilities (see, eg NJ’s CME model). It isn’t like we’re making much headway now as more than half of juvenile offenders re-offend and come back into the system.

  • Sandylee

    thank you for this important reporting

  • Davethesuave

    thank you so much for your brave reporting, but i have to say, Canada is looking better to me all the time….

  • Davethesuave

    thank you so much for your brave reporting, but i have to say, Canada is looking better to me all the time….

  • Davethesuave

    thank you so much for your brave reporting, but i have to say, Canada is looking better to me all the time….

  • KateD.

    Thank you so much for this report. What would Bmore do without you???

  • Balt Observer

    Nice propaganda piece the Brew has written here. I guess the Brew is now a mouthpiece of the Occupy movement. If the Brew is going to become part of the story, rather than simply report on the story, you should stop calling yourselves professional journalists.

    • Ben Kutil

      How do you think it could have been more balanced? Or is the reporting of the piece alone too propaganda slanted?

      • Balt Observer

        The piece is extremely slanted in favor of the protesters. It could have just as easily been written by one of the protesters themselves, judging from the extreme pro-protester slant. At it’s heart, this is a simple story of people trespassing and being removed. All the additional rhetoric in the piece is simply propaganda.

        • Ktrueheart

          Balt Observer: know that Dr. King and others were routinely arrested for minor misdemeanors like trespassing.  Bringing attention to the elephant in the room (inequalities in our justice system) almost always takes a bold public action like the Occupy Baltimore action on Monday. 

          Media coverage provided by the Baltimore Brew and a hand full of others, serves to explain the TRUTH to uninformed individual citizens like yourself.  Please continue reading the BREW it will help you to become a well informed citizen.

          • Sean Tully

            Ktrueheart, you again miss the point.  Dr. King was arrested for tresspassing when he did things like sat at segregated lunch counters and such:

             “1960:  In Atlanta, King is arrested during a sit-in waiting to be served at a restaurant. He is sentenced to four months in jail, but after intervention by John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, he is released.”


            Read Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham” to see how he felt about “just” and “unjust” laws.  This tresspassing law the Occupiers were arrested for violating was a just law.  It had a moral purpose (to keep people out of a construction area) and it applied to everyone.  

          • Ktrueheart

            Sean Tully … the act of trespassing/occupying a site that will house a youth detention facility which promotes unjust incarceration laws and policies mirrors Dr. King’s protest action of trespassing/sitting at a lunch counter that promotes racist laws and policies.  Please do not twist Dr. King’s philosophies or motives to suit your twisted logic … it’s disrespectful.

          • Sean Tully

            Ktrueheart, I was wondering how long it would take you to personally attack me.  I end all discussion of this issue with you.

    • Jed Weeks

      If anything the story left out important information that would serve to further validate the claims of those protesting the jail.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks to Jed for this thought. He’s referring (i think) to an OSI study that makes an interesting, not rhetorical or “radical” but empirical case for ditching the detention center
        As someone else said here, we’re happy to have folks make other arguments on this subject and offer other info, data or thoughts.

  • Ktrueheart

    Continued thanks Baltimore Brew for your journalistic courage in covering the stories of our government’s disrespect of its citizens.  Engaging our government to listen on this important issue continues to be a cry for a multitude of advocates who oppose the construction of the proposed youth detention facility.  Their demands have fallen on deaf ears and yesterday’s protest was needed and inevitable.  Bringing media attention and ultimately public attention to the lack of enriching positive youth development opportunities and high quality intervention programs in Baltimore was a key outcome from this Occupy Baltimore action.  As usual our municipal government leadership avoided engaging in a meaningful dialogue with its citizens and instead chose the “lock ’em up” option to community engagement … which appears to be the norm for our young Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.   It’s refreshing to know that The Occupy Baltimore movement will not be deterred by the tunnel vision of the dictatorial mayoralship of Baltimore.  Props to our youth for standing up and taking their future in hand directly!

  • Sean Tully

    The difference between MLK, Jr. and the Occupy Baltimore protesters is that MLK, Jr., was arrested for breaking unjust, racist laws.  The Occupy Baltimore protesters were arrested for breaking a just law (no trespassing) that applies to everyone, no matter what race they happen to be.  Nice try, Occupy, but you missed again.  Why don’t you guys really put your lives on the line and go on a hunger strike? 

    • Ktrueheart

      Sean Tully get your facts straight … Dr. King and others were routinely arrested for violating/breaking misdemeanor laws like trespassing.  They did not break the racist civil rights laws, but like them the Occupy Baltimore protestors are protesting racist policies which unjustly imprison African American males at record levels.  Protesting with the goal of improving educational outcomes and enhancing positive youth development opportunities instead of incarceration for our youth is the bottom line … Next time they might need to provide you a copy of the script since you don’t seem capable of following the storyline without it.

      • Sean Tully

        Dr. King and others were arrested for breaking misdemeanor laws like tresspassing, but the places they were tresspassing were lunch counters that did not allow them, by law, to sit there.  Dr. King’s protest was to break unjust laws.  Keeping people out off of state property next to a prison is not exclusive to any single race and no matter how unjust it seems, a prison is a very dangerous area and those working there do not have time to figure out who may be there to protest and who may be there for other reasons that may cause disruption inside the jail.

    • morejailsfewerschools

      Sean, you are right and I have seen the light.

       Sean, I am going on a hunger strike starting now until I can occupy your heart. Please don’t make me starve to death. Just one kiss……

      • Sean Tully

        Sure, if a kiss will stop you from breaking the law, come and get it.

        • morejailsnoschools

          Oh Sean, don’t toy with my affection…..

  • Flint Arthur

    Balt Observer, everything in the article is true from my first hand experience.

    I’m sure the Brew would welcome the state of Maryland to try and explain why this $104 million youth prison is a good idea; and provide space for it’s opponents to debate that idea.

    It seems clear that the state of Maryland and Baltimore City government are hostile to freedom of speech and assembly when it comes to questioning a hundred million dollars in spending priorities.

    How strange is it that #Occupy Baltimore and the Algebra Project are making the fiscal conservative argument in this case!   

  • Flint Arthur

    A simple story about trespassing?  As if anyone would be trespassing in a vacant lot by the jail if it wasn’t to protest the $104 million dollar project that the State of Maryland does not need.   The story isn’t “people trespassed” .  Trespassing happens all the time and it rarely warrants any sort of journalistic coverage.    The story here is precisely the protest, not whether there was trespassing.

    Sean Tully, folks should only be taken seriously if they hunger strike?  What? 

    • Sean Tully

      Point 1:  People are arrested for tresspassing every day. 
      Point 2:  People can be taken seriously without tresspassing.

  • BMore Builder

    As a piece on the temperature of the time, I believe this to be a proper gauge of where the City’s priorities lie.  As far as objective journalism goes, it does force the reader to identify with the victim (journalist) in this case.  Its hard to present the facts as incontravertable when so much speculation circles around it.  Good piece, I’m certain building more detention centers aren’t what we need in Baltimore.  I’m in favor of the schools not jails idea, but there is no clear-cut way to say that building revenue/business in the city first won’t eventually translate into higher budgets/better schools down the line.

  • Sean Tully

    Let me state clearly that I am not opposed to the ideals behind the Occupy movement.  I just think they are going about their mission entirely wrong.  Yes, we need more jobs and less jails.  But it seems to me the best way to ensure that is to get people involved in the political system and voting.  Baltimore City had a horrible turnout last November.  What did Occupy Baltimore do to increase participation? 

  • Balt Observer

    The fact that this comments area is a love-fest for Occupy supporters shows how biased the article is. The article is nothing more than propaganda in support of the Occupy movement. The views being expressed in both the articles and comments are fringe viewpoints. Most people respect the necessity of laws and the need to obey them.

    • UpperFells

      Exactly. Baltimore Brew is slowly exposing itself as nothing more than an extension of the city’s left-wing.  This is one more piece of evidence. 

  • Sean Tully

    P.S.  I know the word is “trespassing” and not “tresspassing”. 

  • Flint Arthur

    Nothing Occupy Baltimore is doing is prohibiting anyone from participating in electoral politics.  

    On the other hand, we know that the Democratic Party has an effective machine and has controlled Baltimore City electoral politics for a long time.  

    We are well within our rights as citizens and residents of Baltimore to call attention to issues and demand our elected “representatives” address our concern.  That is what Occupy Baltimore is ding with our freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

    Baltimore City is choosing to use nonsense about permits and trespass to shutdown our protests.   They claim they are doing it to “keep the peace” and in the interests of public safety.  However, Occupy Baltimore is no more disruptive than any other small gathering of people at any publicly owned land anywhere in Baltimore City.  We are less disruptive than a street festival, and certainly far less disruptive than a marathon or a grand prix.

    Nooone was being harmed or bothered in anyway by Occupy Baltimore having a demonstration in a vacant lot owned by the state of Maryland (of which we are all citizens and residents!) or a Baltimore city public sidewalk and a Baltimore city public street that gets very, very, very little traffic.

    The city doesn’t want to hear our message.  It stings to much.  The city has chosen to answer #occupy with gradually escalating repression.

    • Sean Tully

      Flint, I doubt anyone would be permitted to gather in a area marked “No Trespassing” next to a prison.  I doubt the city was picking on the Occupiers.  As for the downtown protest, I agreed with the Mayor that you were occupying a public area without a permit.  That was not fair to others who may have wanted to use that public area.  And as far as the “On the other hand, we know that the Democratic Party has an effective machine and has controlled Baltimore City electoral politics for a long time” statement, that’s a cop out.  Elections are how we change things in this country.  Protests may bring attention to issues, but it is the elections that actually bring about the change.  

  • Flint Arthur

    I was just down at Occupy Congress.  The police reaction could not be more different.  There are only a handful of uniformed police officers in soft caps.   There is no effort to move protesters off the land owned by the “Government of the United States”.  

    To contrast the two protests, it seems Baltimore City government and Maryland State government decided to exercise their police powers to remove a protest that they did not like.  That is, their choice, while perhaps legal, was essentially politically motivated.Much like the political decision when the Mayor chose to remove the protest at McKeldin Square.They can hide behind the law all they want, but we know that they choose to wield it as they wish, determining where we can assemble, when and for how long.  The question about protests will become how much are they willing to repress Occupy to limit it’s message and if that is a viable tactic given the resolve the protesters are manifesting.Segregation was also entirely legal, and the methods that opposed it illegal. The focus on the legality of assembly and protest are entirely secondary to the issues motivating the protesters, and the reasons the government finds their message so objectionable.

    • Sean Tully

      Quote Flint Arthur:  “Segregation was also entirely legal, and the methods that opposed it illegal.”

      Yes, but segregation was immoral.  Requiring a permit to gather for an extended period of time at McKeldin Square was not immoral.  It applied to everyone.   The Mayor cut you guys some slack by allowing you to stay there so long. 

  • UpperFells

    Protesting the city’s criminal justice strategies is puzzling when Baltimore just had a year with under 200 homicides for the first time in decades. 

    Perhaps there’s a reason why homicide rates are falling. More of the people who commit murders are in jail.

    I bet that Zach Sowers wishes that his attackers had been in jail. 

  • Sean Tully

    If the Occupiers want to really affect change and keep kids out of prisons, here is a practical suggestion:  The Occupiers should pool their money together and rent spaces in poverty stricken communities and tutor kids in math, science, and English (maybe even teach them Spanish, if they don’t already speak it).  That will get kids off the streets and help them stay away from crime and prisons.

    • Anonymous

      What an excellent idea. The donation button can be found @ http:/

  • Flint Arthur

    If we depended upon elections to change things in this country we would

    1) still have slavery2) women would not have the vote3) blacks would not have the vote4) segregation would still be in effect
    5) not be legally allowed to organized labor  unions or strikeI am glad that suffrage has been extended again and again.I would argue that history shows that social movements, often civilly disobedient social movements,  are what change policy in a meaningful way in the U.S. and elsewhere.Electoral politics is often tailing behind the heat from the street.Regardless, we are well within our rights to petition through protest that currently elected officials to change their budget priorities in regards to our taxes and governmental debt. The “no trespassing” sign can be placed and removed on a whim by the “owner” of the property.  In this case the “owner” seems to be the State of Maryland but not the residents and citizens of Maryland who were protesting.Occupy Baltimore did in now way prohibit anyone else from using McKeldin.  We easily shared the square with the marathon, for example.    Anyone who wanted to use McKeldin could have.Now that Occupy has been cleared out, McKeldin remains largely empty.  Just as it was before Occupy started making use of it.The vacant lot at 600 E. Monument now remains vacant and unused; as was the case before Occupy started making use of it.We’ll see how the city reacts if Occupy brings it’s opposition to this $104 million excess to the mayor’s participatory budget hearing at Cylburn Arboretum on January 21.  Or perhaps the city park will be declared private property only suitable for the meeting of the Mayor and her select guests rather than being a forum for the people.

  • Flint Arthur

    Upper Fells,

    Maryland spends more on prisons than it’s entire state university system.   We are at a 40 year decline of violent crime, not just in Baltimore but across the country.   This decline is not directly attributable to changes in law enforcement.  Frankly, the decline has confused quite a few sociologists and criminologists. 

    Throughout the year, Baltimore experienced continued declines in several serious crime categories including homicides, shootings and overall violent crime. Homicides, down 12% in 2011, reached the second lowest level on record and the lowest level since 1977.  
    Homicide is down 12%. There were 27 fewer homicides in 2011 than 2010. It is the lowest total since 1977—a 34-year low. It is also the second lowest level since the City began tracking the total in 1970.  Homicides have declined 17% over the last two years and 30% since 2007. ” 

    The proposed 180 bed Youth Jail is not needed.   How many of those 180 youths at any time to you figure would be convicted murderers?   The Youth Jail has far to much capacity for the current 50 or so youth that are in the system at any one time before they routinely return to a juvenile detention facility.  

    Do you honestly think a new youth jail that is more than 3 times the size of the current youth in prison population is going to do anything to further decrease Baltimore’s homicide rate? 

    Police and prison expenditures (and I dare say excess!) are not beyond questioning by citizens.  The focus on turning Baltimore and Maryland into a police state represent not only a loss of our civil liberties (negative liberties) but an opportunity cost in regards to our positive liberty. 

    We all know that if you wanted to reduce violent crime in Baltimore in a significant way, you’d end the black market narcotics trade and end the War on Drugs.  It was that platform Mayor Schmoke was elected on but not able to implement because of the federal government.  Portugal’s decriminalization has largely been a success.  That said, violent crime has been reducing. 

    Zach Sowers death is an unfortunate tragedy, and noteworthy for how unusual it was.  Indeed, according to Anna Sowers in selecting their home “when they looked into the crime statistics for the area east of Patterson Park, they found they weren’t much worse than those in Canton. The gunshot murder of a teenage girl on the street around the corner in the summer of 2004 shook Anna, but she never felt seriously threatened. ” 

    Perhaps the City should just build a 180 bed jail for Occupy?   Such lawless behavior of standing where they are not allowed to stand, and sleep where they aren’t allowed to sleep.   I wonder how the fragile sensibilities of Baltimore citizens can ever endure such assaults on their psyche of a few people with signs that chant things the government does not like to hear.

    Or maybe we can just put a wall around the whole city?


    Resident of Reservoir Hill

  • Art Cohen

    Great coverage by The Brew and others about an important call to city government and the rest of us to press for the building and improving of schools, not prisons.  If there was a more fitting tribute to MLK yesterday, I can’t imagine what it was.  Time to name and then end the effort to build a new youth mail, another example of the New Jim Crow.

  • Flint Arthur

    Also relevant to this conversation about a Youth Jail:

    Juvenile violence has significantly declined. There have been 14 juvenile homicides and 28 juvenile shootings this year. Juvenile homicides are down nearly 50% since 2007 and juvenile shootings are down 70% since 2007. Juvenile arrests are down 25% since last year and down 60% since 2006.”(from the previously linked Examiner article)

  • Anonymous


    Two Pennsylvania judges pled guilty in February 2009 to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two private detention centers. In a scheme stretching over six years, the judges closed a public detention center, secured contracts for the companies, and then were paid to send thousands of teenagers to the private centers on minor or questionable charges.

  • Anonymous

    Please read about the “kids for cash” scandal in Pennsylvania.  A corrupt judge sent several teens for minor infractions to jails in order to justify the need for a new and shiny jail.  And now Baltimore wants a new and shiny jail.  What a load of bull.  More and more juvenile detention centers are symbols of shame in this country.  We ought to all stand like a bulwark against this waste.  Jails produce more hardened criminals and folks who cannot get jobs because they have records.  This detention center is nothing more than payback from the useless political class to the builders, contractors and all the other minions of the prison industrial complex.  Of course the police stood there to enforce the so called law, that Sean Tully seems so eager to see enforced.  The police, the prosecutors, the politicians, the lawyers galore, the corrupt judges, all depend on the regularity and the inevitability of crime to put food on their own tables.  Fighting crime, jailing people and preventing the jailing of people is a full time occupation for many and building jails is big business.  If crime is dropping, the judges will invent the crimes, charge the innocent and imprison them to build the jails, like in Pennsylvania.  Ditto in the medical profession.  There has been a medicalization of normal physiology to put money in big pharma’s rapacious hands. I say GO OCCUPY.  Shame the big wigs, the authoritarians and the smug law enforcers–who are the actual law breakers in many instances.         

  • Ktrueheart

    A year ago this month Governor O’Malley froze the youth detention facility project in response to advocates’ concerns that the facility was unnecessary, over sized and the funds could be better used to enhance educational outcomes and improve intervention programs for our youth.  The governor then comissioned a study which on December 20, 2011, less than 30 days ago, was released by Secretary Maynard (MD Dept. Corrections).  Upon releasing the report Maynard recommended our Legislators re-authorized the funding for a smaller facility, with a reduced number of beds (down from 180 to 120).  The young protestors who occupied the proposed site on Monday were among several who received a copy of this report (about a week ago) and their public response to Maynard’s recommendation to move forward with the project  is what we have been witnessing … I uploaded the report for all to read:

    If you are in opposition to this facility please send your comments to the same addressees listed in Secretary Maynard’s recommendation letter.

  • Anonymous

    If you build a jail,
    you must fill the jail,

    you must arrest the docile ones
    and charge them with attempted
    unarmed thievery
    from the keepers of the jail–

    the janitors, the cooks,
    the runners of the drug rings,
    the saviors of the fallen souls,
    the guards– the guardian angels–
    who minister from the Holy Books–

    the kingpins dependent on the mercy of crime
    to bring them the bacon and the bread-
    the reformers–the activists—
    dependent on the dependable dark side–
    who looks out for them?

    you must punish the docile ones
    for not committing crimes,
    if you build a jail,
    you must fill the jail–

    you must find some innocents–
    loiterers swarthy in complexion–
    and charge them
    with spitting on the sidewalks–
    or carrying toy guns or chewing gum–

    or you must nab some hotheads
    who jive talk to policemen,
    who hip hop on table tops–
    in public gardens–
    who dub-step and high step
    on the streets– their kingdoms–

    you must handcuff some airheads
    still developing–
    the ones too young to differentiate
    cause from consequence–

    when there is nothing to pin on them,
    just use the catch all “possession”–
    pants slipping from hips,
    hands groping
    for weapons concealed–
    gestures that indicate-
    guns they’re about to wield,

    You can blame anything,
    as long as you bring them in–
    a misdemeanor is too tame–
    but a lynching that’s exciting-
    as a charge that’s a felony–
    a more useful crime to keep them in–

    you must find some innocents–
    protesters against the status quo–
    the ones who have it upside down–
    not criminals but they’re clowns,
    their proliferation interferes
    with the drafted grand design–

    If you build a jail,
    you must fill the jail–
    go bring them in– the protesters–
    because they clearly understand
    cause and also consequence.

    Usha Nellore



  • Bmorepanic

    SRB has no sense of irony.  Locking up peaceful protesters committing civil disobedience on MLK day – jailing tutors trespassing for social justice and wasting the time of 20? 30? police officers and city employees.  

    I’m amazed she doesn’t feel shame for excavating any excuse she can to legally dump on people who wanted to peacefully make a statement about the city’s priorities.  She should feel shame for wasting money on such a display of force to arrest 6 protesters.  She should have gone to talk with them instead of showing off.

    I’m amazed we all don’t forcefully complain.

  • Balt Observer

    I agree with and support the city in their efforts to block these nonsensical Occupy “actions”, which ultimately amount to loosely organized lawlessness and vagrancy. I strongly suspect that the silent majority of Baltimoreans who are law-abiding, productive members of society and who don’t post comments in the Brew share the same view.

  • OSI-Baltimore

    Here’s yet another explanation of opposition, including opposition of the smaller, but still unnecessary, facility:

    • Ktrueheart

      Thanks Diana Morris for your leadership and concern for our children!

  • Ktrueheart

    News from Annapolis as of 4pm 1/18/2012:  There are no state funds allocated for the “Baltimore City Detention Center–Youth Detention Facility”  Under the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service Capital Budget for 2013 … … This could be good news … stay tuned!

  • Ktrueheart

    News from Annapolis as of 4pm 1/18/2012:  There are no state funds allocated for the “Baltimore City Detention Center–Youth Detention Facility”  Under the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service Capital Budget for 2013 … … This could be good news … stay tuned!

    • Ktrueheart

      CORrEctION: News from Annapolis as of 4pm 1/18/2012: There are no state funds allocated for the “Baltimore City Detention Center–Youth Detention Facility” Under the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Service Capital Budget for 2014.

      • Sean Tully

        Ktrueheart – If there are no funds allocated for the detention center then what exactly were these people protesting against?  I think this only makes my point more clear:  this protest, like the Occupy Baltimore protest was unfocused, unorganized, and seriously off message.

  • Ijustupid

    Sooooo, and this is just pure speculation, based on observations of modern city government, and past city government giving corporations control of formerly city administered services, so is this another case of taxpayer funded development only to be turned over to a for profit corporation with state laws protecting the corporate ‘rights’ to the funds and facility?

  • Rob Brulinski

    We should not be building any more jails, it does not fucking matter what the state budget is allocated for.

    • Balt Observer

      Perfect example of the Occupier mentality. Tear down the prisons, the courts, and the police. Let anarchy reign. Remember the Occupy Baltimore sanctioned “Noise Demo”?


      Saturday, December 31, 2011 – 6:00pm


      Meet @ the statue at the intersection of Guilford Ave & E. Biddle St

      Last year angry people in cities all over North America participated in
      New Year’s Eve noise demos at prisons, jails, and detention facilities
      that had locked up their friends, families, and partners. This New
      Year’s Eve, we will continue this tradition.

      In association with police forces, a racist court system, and an
      economic system based in inequality, prisons act as a form of oppression
      to all who cannot or will not submit to the ruling order.

      We intend to show those held captive in Baltimore City Detention Center
      that they are always on our minds and we will not stop until they are
      free and until the system that maintains prisons, courts, and police is
      torn to the ground.

      Meet at the statue at the intersection of Guilford Ave & E. Biddle St. @ 6pm.

      From there we will march to Baltimore City Detention Facility.

      Bring friends, drums, instruments, noisemakers, banners.

  • Balt Observer

    Really Usha? Do you think society would be better off without institutions like prisons, police, and courts? What do you think would happen without those things?

  • Unellu

    I didn’t say anything of the kind Balt Observer–I merely said they are tearing themselves down without Occupy or anyone else having to do so.  Authority figures need to be challenged–or else we will have both authoritarianism and corruption.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely Balt Observer.  Your enthusiasm for law and order not withstanding, you only have to read the headlines each day to see plainly that the makers and the enforcers of the law don’t like to be challenged.  They use their powers to clamp down challenges to their way of doing things.  Challenging the system is not the equivalent of tearing down or destroying the system especially in a participatory and pluralistic nation such as ours.  It may indeed be essential to keeping our democracy vibrant and alive.  It keeps the authorities vigilant, their power in check, and freedom more than a mere concept on paper but a reality in motion.  Your vituperation against Occupy Baltimore or any of the other Occupy movements, across the globe, seems to be embedded in complacence and conventionality.  While we must have institutions of law and order and we must support them, we should also make sure they do not, buoyed by our acquiescence, ignorance, disinterest or tacit cooperation do as they please.  You may not approve of Occupy’s methods but your tenacious disparagement of the movement exposes more your anger and intolerance and less the flaws inherent in the movement.  Occupy is a process–it has its place in our society and it will die a natural death, without you railing against it, or flourish despite your rantings, because many see it as an outlet for their frustrations and fears.  Even if you are right, that a majority in this country don’t approve of Occupy, we are not a nation that disrespects or abridges the rights of the minority.           

    • Balt Observer

      Usha, I’m glad to see that you don’t support the tearing down of institutions that are obviously an important part of civilized society. Unfortunately, the Occupy event I listed was quite unambiguous about the desire to do just that. A good part of the Occupy movement consists of anarchists, who wish that all forms of government and order would just go away. Their message and influence is quite clear from the Occupy event I mentioned. This also appears to be why the Occupy movement, in Baltimore at least, continues to focus on eliminating jails.

      Doing away with incarceration is a fringe, extreme view. These extreme views are why Occupy will not survive. In light of the call of these people to eliminate jails, it’s not surprising that the police respond with concern when a group of them start congregating in the vicinity of a city jail.

      Finally, regarding your comments about my criticism of the Occupy movement, if the Occupy movement has the right to disparage government and society, then I certainly have the right to disparage Occupy.

  • diehippiedie

    Hahaha. Stupid hippies. You got what you deserved! Go back to school and major in somthing besides puppetry or art history!

  • diehippiedie

    Hahaha. Stupid hippies. You got what you deserved! Go back to school and major in somthing besides puppetry or art history!

  • diehippiedie

    Hahaha. Stupid hippies. You got what you deserved! Go back to school and major in somthing besides puppetry or art history!

  • diehippiedie

    Hahaha. Stupid hippies. You got what you deserved! Go back to school and major in somthing besides puppetry or art history!

  • D Si

    How about ya’ll hoodrats quit spreading your seed like dust in the wind and raise your children? No one is teaching them how to live and grow and be civilized people. What do you think is going to happen????

  • February 11, 2016

  • February 10, 2016

    • Arguing that a trash-burning power plant proposed for South Baltimore would violate the federal Clean Air Act – and that its permit expired nine months ago – two groups are suing the New York-based company developing it. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and United Workers today notified Energy Answers that they intend to file a […]

  • February 9, 2016

    • Some political candidates use Apple products to write their position papers and email their staff. Northeast Baltimore’s Rodney C. Burris dangled a couple of the trendy devices in front of potential contributors as a way of raising cash. In return for a contribution of $10, contributors get a chance to win an Apple Watch or […]

  • February 6, 2016

    • Emergency repairs to a 20-inch main will result in temporary water shutoffs to about 450 houses in the Canton area on either Monday or Wednesday. Service will be interrupted at 165 houses on Monday starting at 8 a.m. and ending about 4 p.m. The affected properties will be on Montford between Foster and Fait, Fait […]

  • February 4, 2016

    • On the eve of a trial set in Baltimore Circuit Court, a technology firm has agreed to pay over $160,000 to the city for inflated and false billings. Washington, D.C.-based Investment Management Enterprise pleaded guilty to one count of theft before Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill yesterday. An investigation by the Baltimore Office of […]

More of the Daily Drip »

Below the Fold

  • December 15, 2014

    •   “Ha ha, so not a surprise.” “Shocking…not!!” We get applause but also the occasional eye-roll these days for our accountability reporting – like last week’s piece about how tax cuts promised by the mayor as a selling point for Horseshoe Baltimore probably won’t happen, thanks to the casino’s lower-than-expected revenues. We get where the […]