$4.6 Million Paid by Maryland to Settle Boot Camp Abuse Claims
The State of Maryland has agreed to pay $4 million to 890 former juvenile delinquents who were abused while attending three state-run boot camps. The state will pay another $690,000 to a dozen attorneys who represented the abused campers.
The class action settlement agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, is expected to end the legal battles growing from an ugly 3-year episode in Maryland's juvenile justice program. From 1996, when the western Maryland camps were opened, until December 1999, when they were closed, guards routinely beat teenage campers, often while they were handcuffed and shackled. The children suffered not only cuts and bruises but shattered teeth and broken bones.
The assaults received public attention in December 1999 when The Baltimore Sun published a scathing four-part series describing how muscular camp guards slammed, punched, and kicked the young campers. After the series was published, the Maryland State Police entered the camps and confirmed the assaults. The governor then ordered the National Guard into the camps to protect the boys; shortly thereafter, he ordered the camps closed.
Of the $4 million settlement, the ten campers who were most seriously injured will share $1 million, paid to them in four annual installments. Fifty other campers, who were less seriously beaten, will each receive $15,000.
All 890 campers will be eligible to draw from a $2.1 million education fund to pay for 4 years of college.
The settlement covers the former campers—all males, many now in adult prisons—who passed through the three Allegany County boot camps: Savage Leadership Challenge, Meadow Mountain Leadership Challenge, and Backbone Leadership Challenge.
John P. Coale, a Washington DC attorney, served pro bono as the lead attorney for the campers. The case settled in 2002.
Source:The Baltimore Sun
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