This morning Marc Fisher wrote about the struggles of Vincent Schiraldi to change the culture of Oak Hill, the District’s youth detention center in Laurel, Md. It was classic Fisher—-a finely told tale with some nice wit and a sharp point of view. It didn’t really get a rise from me, though, till the very end, when the columnist revealed the following:

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is planning to give Oak Hill kids puppies to engender empathy and responsibility. Hey, it’s worth a try.

Sorry, but count me among those who don’t favor sending puppies to Oak Hill. Puppies are incredibly high-maintenance; Oak Hill staff is already busy with all kinds of responsibilities. Puppies are very messy; who’s going to clean up their messes? Puppies have to be house-trained (facility-trained?); does Oak Hill allow the freedom of movement necessary to accomplish such training?

I favor the more humane approach of Schiraldi to dealing with D.C.’s troubled youth, but I must confess that I worry for the puppies.

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