Head of Juvenile Detention Under Investigation

A new day has dawned and the Washington Post has taken editorial notice of the problematic, if not downright questionable, background of Christopher Perkins, the man Governor O’Malley has recruited to run the state’s juvenile detention facilities.

It seems to have started on November 28 in the Baltimore City Paper with an exposé by Jeffrey Anderson.

O’Malley Watch followed up on the story as well as the studious disinterest on the part of the Baltimore Sun. Note to the Baltimore Sun, it is really, really hard to shill for an administration while pretending to be a news gathering organization.

According to the Post an investigation is underway to do what should have been done before Mr. Perkins was hired: check his background.

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Tammy Brown, a Juvenile Services spokeswoman, said yesterday that the department is looking into Perkins’s professional history and that Juvenile Services Secretary Donald W. DeVore only recently learned of a state investigation that found violations at the private Montana youth facility Perkins headed for much of the three years before it closed in February 2006. Although the investigation is ongoing, Brown said the inquiry thus far has “exonerated” Perkins of wrongdoing in the Montana case.

Montana’s Public Health and Human Services Department began investigating allegations of abuse at the Swan Valley Youth Academy in November 2005 after the Montana Advocacy Program, a nonprofit civil rights organization, raised concerns about the facility.

The Montana agency found 19 licensing violations at Swan Valley, according to a January 2006 agency report. In one instance, a youth was kept in seclusion for five days, according to the report. The report said Perkins and other staff members did not always report complaints of abuse, as required.

From what we’ve seen so far it looks like the O’Malley solution to retaining loyalty in his staff is to hire damaged or ethically bent people counting on their gratitude as a means of control.

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