Union claims juvenile center fight could have been prevented, calls on governor
FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WBFF) - Maryland’s governor and a union president exchanged heated words in Annapolis Monday, after a fight inside a juvenile facility landed three workers in the hospital.
The incident happened inside Victor Cullen Center in Frederick County around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
Eight teens from the facility are now facing assault and rioting charges. Three of those teens are being charged as adults. This was after a fight between two teens led to the attack on the workers.
One correctional officer told FOX45 from inside a Washington, D.C hospital that his jaw was broken in the incident and had to be wired shut.
On Monday, the president of AFSCME Maryland, which represents state employees, released a statement saying the union believes a lack in staffing allowed this violence to happen.
“The staffing issue has been going on for three plus years,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland. “The governor has not addressed it and I called him out on it today.”
During a press conference in Annapolis Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan maintained there is no staffing issue at Victor Cullen.
“The union is wrong. They’ve been saying those things for a long time. This was fully staffed,” said the governor.
Moran interjected from the crowd.
Hogan responded: “It’s OK. We’ve already heard from you.”
The governor went on to describe the juveniles in the facility as the most violent in Maryland's juvenile system and called it a "terrible incident."
“The Department of Juvenile Services is short 268 positions, including vacancies and additional positions needed to meet safe staffing levels,” pointed out Moran. “The more eyes, ears and bodies you have on the ground, the easier you can subdue the situation.”
FOX45 reached out to the Department of Juvenile Services for comment.
A spokesperson said the number is only true if its 13 facilities are at full capacity, telling FOX45 they are not.
“Victor Cullen has a 48-bed capacity,” said Joseph Cleary, spokesperson for the Department of Juvenile Services. “Right now, 21 youths are being housed there.”
FOX45 asked how many correctional officers Victor Cullen employees.
Cleary said he could not answer that question for security reasons, but said during the day the facility has an officer-to-juvenile ratio of 1 to 8.
The investigation into the fight continues.