YO Baltimore’s Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Training (PACT) Evening Reporting Center turns 10 years old

More than 1,400 youth were engaged in productive activities instead of being placed in secure detention while awaiting court date

The PACT evening reporting center annually serves 120 young men, between 14 and 17, who would otherwise be in secure detention while awaiting their court date. PACT provides them with youth development activities, creative learning projects, field trips and access to a workout center with a qualified fitness instructor. Participants are referred by the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) to Youth Opportunity (YO) Baltimore, a program operated by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development that serves 17-24-year-olds who are out of work and out of school.

For the past ten years an average of 96 percent of PACT participants appeared in court as scheduled and 97 percent were not re-arrested while waiting for their court date, consistently exceeding the proposed goal of 85 percent. All participants complete assessments and work together with staff and parents to develop an Individualized Service Plan (ISP). The ISP provides a personalized path to guide youth toward more successful outcomes.

Transportation is provided to and from YO Baltimore’s West Baltimore site along with a family style dinner each evening, which encourages positive peer discussions and builds communication and problem solving skills. An onsite, fully equipped recording studio encourages creativity and a way to express thoughts and emotions in a productive manner.

“The PACT Center began as a community experiment in juvenile justice detention alternative programming for Baltimore City youth, DJS Director of System Reform Lisa Garry said. “We were in need of an organization with a viable presence in the West Baltimore community that could speak credibly to the needs and trends of that community, and thereby consistently adapt its services for relevance and impact. The PACT Center has since emerged as a leading national framework for community-based Evening Reporting Centers in Maryland and throughout the country. I am incredibly proud of the Center's progress over the years as it remains a pillar in the continuum of community programs for Baltimore City youth and families.”

Tyrone, a former participant, shared his experience, “I was angry because of my arrest, and the PACT program helped me to get rid of all that anger. Mr. [Jonathan] Hamlet [PACT Supervisor] also helped me sort through the things I wanted to do in my life and he encouraged me to follow my dreams. Each day he reminded us to look at the big picture.”

The program is based on research and best practices recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (www.aecf.org), which asserts that involvement in the juvenile justice system is the strongest predictor of adult criminality. When the Foundation launched the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in the early 1990s, overreliance on detention was widespread and growing nationwide. Using a model rooted in eight core strategies, JDAI proved effective in helping participating jurisdictions safely reduce their detention populations. Based on its success, JDAI has been adopted by an ever-growing number of jurisdictions, leading to dramatic declines in detention populations.

PACT is a recipient of Disproportionate Minority Contact Best Practice Award and recognized MacArthur Model for Change Program by the MacArthur Foundation. 

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