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Alleged Maryland Juvenile Hall Sexual Abuse Victims Eligible for Justice, Potential Compensation

Alleged Maryland Juvenile Hall Sexual Abuse Victims Eligible for Justice, Potential Compensation

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With the recent changes in the laws in Maryland signed by the governor, sexual abuse victims can now seek justice and compensation for abuse that occurred years ago if the abuse happened while the victims were under 18.

Between 1987 and early 1988, Maryland decided to shutter the Montrose Juvenile Training School.

The establishment had been serving for almost seven decades.

The institution released over two hundred young individuals in less than a year.

Surprisingly, many of them shouldn't have been admitted to Montrose as their offenses weren't gravely severe or violent.

Upon release, nearly half of these youths returned to their homes under strict supervision and services, while a majority of the remaining ones found their places in more modest, non-secure residential programs.

Montrose, in its physical state, could have been better.

Originally earmarked as a facility capable of hosting 212 individuals, its average population ballooned to around 250 in the later years.

This overcrowding was so severe that, during peak times, makeshift living quarters were set up in hallways or even basements.

Beyond the space issue, Montrose's structures suffered from other drawbacks.

They were aging, had poor ventilation, and lacked sufficient heating.

Other alarming concerns were insect infestations, rodent problems, and potential asbestos threats.

The challenges at Montrose were more comprehensive than its infrastructure—the staff were overwhelmed and needed more training.

This affected the incarcerated youth, some of whom faced neglect and maltreatment. 

Moreover, a significant proportion, almost half of the juveniles, hadn’t experienced out-of-home placements before their time at Montrose.

The facility's isolation unit became notoriously symbolic of its problematic system. 

Here, young individuals were frequently confined for lengthy durations as a method of behavioral control.

It's essential to contextualize Montrose within Maryland's larger penitentiary framework.

Maryland had an unsettling distinction at that time—one of the nation's highest incarceration rates, covering juveniles and adults.

Montrose was not an isolated entity; it was one of two prominent training schools in the state.

However, a closer look at the incarcerated youths at Montrose reveals that they weren't particularly menacing or hardened criminals.

A mere 30% had faced charges related to violent acts—instead, the majority comprised of status offenders, misdemeanants, and those who committed property offenses.

An alarming statistic from 1986 found that 44% of the young detainees at Montrose were there due to probation violations, often linked to status offenses like truancy.

Despite its glaring issues, Montrose seemed resistant to criticism and persisted through several reports highlighting its deficiencies.

For many, it remained an overcrowded repository for young offenders.

While the subpar conditions at Montrose were worrying enough, maltreatment allegations brought more scrutiny. Reports of staff mistreating the youths were not uncommon.

But for the longest time, Montrose, deeply rooted in its long history, seemed invincible to reform or closure.

The turning point arrived in the form of tragedies that jolted the public's consciousness.

In less than three years, two young individuals committed suicide at Montrose. 

Additionally, several other youths made attempts to end their lives.

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