3 Maryland youth detention center staffers hospitalized after assault by inmates, 8 in custody

- Two staff members from a Maryland juvenile detention center remain hospitalized after a violent uprising Sunday at the Victor Cullen Center in Frederick County. 

Maryland State police say a group of juveniles assaulted staff and destroyed property at the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services facility in Sabillasville. The Victor Cullen Center is a maximum-security detention center, which houses the worst male juvenile offenders in the state.

Police say eight boys assaulted multiple staffers, putting three of them in the hospital. One person was released by Sunday evening. Police radio calls describe the chaos after staff lost control:

“Apparently they’ve taken over a unit,” says a dispatcher around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. “They have keys and have knocked out the cameras to the unit.”

Maryland State Police and Frederick County Sheriff’s deputies responded, and were able to mediate with help from a negotiator with the sheriff’s office, communicating from outside the facility with inmates via radio.

Maryland State police said troopers and sheriff's deputies had success convincing seven of the eight involved inmates to surrender and once they entered the facility took the eighth boy into custody without incident.

Three staff members at the center were transported to the hospital for injuries sustained during the assault, according to police. They say several other staff members were reportedly injured but refused treatment. They also say no juveniles were reported with injuries at the facility. There was no physical confrontation between police and juveniles.

Jay Cleary, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), says the eight involved in the incident have now been transferred to other facilities. He wasn’t able to elaborate on injuries suffered by staff. 

“The Victor Cullen Center is currently secure. DJS executive staff are on the grounds and additional DJS staff have been called in to help supervise the youth population. An investigation is pending,” Cleary said in an emailed statement. 

According to a state report that just came out last month, violence at the center is not uncommon.

In the last three years, the population has remained below 35 juveniles, yet there have been 237 assaults.

In one case, a female staffer reportedly restrained a juvenile who was being violent and a male staffer punched the boy in the face. Two other juveniles then attacked the male staffer. 

Juveniles reported that a staffer said they would, “never be anything but criminals” and “they weren’t human.”

A state employee visiting from another facility was quoted as saying “this place is total confusion.”

An investigation is ongoing and charges for the youth involved are pending.

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