Juveniles detained inside of Victor Cullen Center will have the opportunity to partake in online college courses. This is one of the state’s highest-security detention centers that houses male juveniles. The Maryland State Department of Education has made an agreement with the Frederick Community College to make this possible.
Under the agreement, the juvenile offenders will be able to take courses in biology, English, psychology, sociology and history. State officials announced the new program Tuesday, with two males already taking courses. Officials hope the program will offset some of the problems in the state’s educational program for juvenile offenders.
Director of dual enrollment at Frederick Community College, Elizabeth Duffy, said, “If we truly believe in rehabilitating students, they need to have the same opportunities that a student would at a local high school.”
Juvenile offered housed in several facilities in Western Maryland have been allowed to attend on-campus classes for years. However, this program will be the first to permit juvenile housed in high-security Victor Cullen Center to enroll in college courses. Before, the detention center only permitted the offenders to complete their high school education.
Without education, it would be impossible to rehabilitate young offenders. Maryland’s juvenile education program has been struggling with poor programming, lack of extracurricular offerings, scant access to technology and understaffing.
Young offenders, who receive “hardware secure” rehabilitation orders from juvenile court judges, are sent to Victor Cullen. The teens are required to participate in a six to nine-month treatment program for substance abuse and mental health. The 48-bed facility is located in Frederick County.
The state will be required to pay Frederick Community College $314 for each class. The state Juvenile Services Education program services around 550 youth on a daily basis.
In 2016, lawmakers pledged to increase funding to the schools. In turn, state education officials agreed to hire new teachers and make improvements to the troubled system.