Disturbance Investigated at D.C. Youth Rehabilitation Facility

Department mum on Sunday night incident

A weekend disturbance at a D.C. youth rehabilitation facility is under investigation.

Officials at the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services said about 12 juveniles got onto the roofs of two of the living units at New Beginnings Center in Laurel, Md., and resisted orders to return to their rooms Sunday night.

"A few staff members were injured while attempting to control the youth and return them to their rooms," said Reggie Sanders, the public information officer for the department. "Reports that have characterized the incident as a 'riot' are not accurate."

Sanders added that there were no attempted escapes and that escapes via the roofs of those untis are impossible.

The union representing employees at the facility is lashing out at the department and its management.

"The incident that occurred over the weekend is another black mark on D.C.'s Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services," said Dwight Bowman, the 14th District national vice-president for the American Federation of Government Employees.

"The development of the New Beginnings facility is a prime example of the agency's mismanagement under the (Mayor Adrian) Fenty administration," Bowman added.

He noted that the facility was built to hold 60 youth offenders but now houses at least 70.

Once staff restored order, the facility remained quiet through the night and operated smoothly Monday with residents in school and engaged in learning, Sanders said.

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