Temporary Director Chosen for Troubled DC Youth Agency

11:20 PM, Jul 19, 2010   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Mayor Adrian Fenty has appointed Robert Hildum, the city's chief youth prosecutor, as interim head of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, known as DYRS.

"He is without any question one of the foremost experts in juvenile affairs in the District of Columbia," Fenty told an afternoon press conference.

"He brings a wealth of experience and a real passion for young people," Fenty said.

DYRS is responsible for the supervision of young criminals in the city and runs a controversial detention facility for them called New Beginnings in Laurel, Md..

The agency has been criticized for lax supervision of teenage criminals, many of whom have returned to the streets to commit additional crimes.

The suspects in the notorious murder of a popular high school principal were under the agency's supervision at the time of the slaying in April, for example.

"I don't see any kind of monitoring or supervision of the youth," said Nardyne Jefferies, the mother of a child killed in a drive-by shooting in Southeast Washington on March 30th.

Jefferies says the suspects in that case had been through the DYRS system when they were younger.

She would like to see better control of New Beginnings. That facility had to call in dozens of law enforcement officers last month to put down a disturbance described as a mini-riot by some guards who have complained that rules allow inmates to control the facility.

"Don't just throw everyone into a facility and it's party time...That is built with the intent to rehabilitate so do that. Don't just let it be a fun house," Jefferies told 9NewsNow.

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