New Site for Youth Detention Center Proposed in Charles County

The state originally planned to build a 48-bed youth detention center in Nanjemoy in Charles County, but due to the displeasure of the residents of the area, the proposal has been withdrawn and re-issued for a site in Waldorf. Click here to see MACo’s prior coverage of the original proposal.

After reassessing their site plans, the State of Maryland has now proposed that the youth detention center should be built on a 19-acre parcel of land in the Acton Lane Industrial Park in northern Waldorf (a more urban area of Charles County). The facility, named the Southern Maryland Children’s Center, will house up to 48 minors aged 12 – 17 in temporary custody as they await trial or long-term placement after conviction. From

The one-story, 80,000-square-foot building will “resemble a conventional school” but will have three layers of security confining inmates inside the building, immediately outside and at the edge of the property, [Capital Outlay Director Carlton] Richardson said.

DJS intends to build the building to the efficiency standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.

DJS plans to buy the land by December, finish design in fiscal 2013 and construction in fiscal 2015, and move in in fiscal 2016, Richardson said. Fiscal years begin July 1. The current fiscal year is 2012.

The total cost, excluding the as-yet unknown price of the land, will be about $48.8 million, and will have an annual operating budget of $10.9 million, according to the officials’ presentation.

There is a need for the facility, Richardson and [DJS Secretary Sam] Abed said, as the Southern Maryland region is the only one in the state without its own youth detention center.

On an average day, 32 minors from Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert and Anne Arundel counties are incarcerated in youth centers, as they either await trial or long-term placement after conviction, the officials said. Right now, because the region does not have its own juvenile detention center, most are held at Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George’s County for an average of stay of 19 days…

Charles County Economic Development Director Gene Lauer said the project would bring state jobs with good wages and benefits to the county — specifically, 125 positions with an average salary of $44,000.

The Charles County Commissioners are eager to hear the feelings of the nearby neighborhood residents on this project and are looking forward to the public hearings. 

To read the full article, please click here.


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