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Maryland

Protesters Hope To Stop Traffic To Stop Youth Jail

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Dozens of demonstrators led by the Rev. Jamal Bryant blocked traffic on major roads into downtown Baltimore Tuesday morning to protest the state’s decision to build a new youth jail.

The state Board of Public Works approved building the $30 million dollar facility May 13 in response to concerns from federal officials who said the state-run Baltimore City Detention Center was breaking the law by keeping youthful offenders facing serious charges alongside adults.

Mark Vernarelli, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, told The Baltimore Sun that while the number of youngsters held at the facility has declined, "the department is committed to housing juveniles charged as adults in a new building that will include classrooms, program space, and medical and recreation areas. It's a facility that's vastly superior to the current location."

Bryant used his Facebook page to summon protesters to the intersection of Martin Luther King and Washington Boulevards.  The group was able to block traffic on Interstate 395 and Rt. 295/Russell Street.  Traffic reports said Interstate 95 was also affected.