City Paper is not for tourists
A day after local poo-bahs at DYRS opened its New Beginnings Youth Center, a New Beginnings inmate escaped.
With much fanfare, the facility replaced the infamous Oak Hill juvenile detention facility. Officials had trumpeted its very un-jail like citing; local media had repeatedly compared it to a college campus. “This is the anti-prison,” Vincent N. Schiraldi, director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, told the Post in a story that made it seem like New Beginnings was a St. Albans branch campus only better . “What we had before was a training school for them to become adult inmates. We want them to aspire to college, to be in a place that looks like you care about them.”
The press had noted that New Beginnings was not surrounded by razor wire. Instead, officials stated that the facility’s security was pure state-of-the-art Gattaca shit—-“climb-free fencing” and “detention-grade windows.” New Beginnings central campus-like feature was a sweet courtyard; it also had a cafeteria, library, gym, and automated bathroom time (!). Apparently, none of the new features nor the intimidating climb-free fencing could prevent a kid from bolting the $46 million Laurel campus.
The kid is still out there. An internal investigation is underway to determine how the kid escaped. Meanwhile, the Post provides some hilarious details on the city’s security tests:
“On Thursday, Schiraldi and David Muhammad, chief of Committed Services, said they had brought in young men to try to scale the New Beginnings fences and made modifications to prevent escapes. Schiraldi even said he planned to put prickly shrubbery, possibly rose bushes, near the fence so the young men would not be tempted to flee.”
One councilmember is already feeling prickly over the escape—-Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells.
Wells is annoyed that he was not notified by the Fenty Administration about the escape. He is chairman of the Human Services Committee which oversees New Beginnings. Wells promised to hold a hearing on the issue and go all question-y on city officials. This would be something new for Wells considering he also oversees the Child and Family Services Agency which got slapped pretty good by the court monitor recently.
On his Tommy Blog, a Wells staffer gushed over New Beginnings’ opening as a historic milestone.