A new round of protests emerged in Baltimore yesterday after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed the $30 million construction of a Baltimore juvenile detention center—one day before cutting $11 million from the city’s public school funding.
During yesterday morning’s commute, more than 40 protestors took to highways to protest the proposal, sparking outrage among commuters and causing a two-hour traffic jam. The group, led by Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, said that the demonstration would be the first of “10 biblical plagues” as long as Gov. Hogan refused to reverse his plans.
“Education is better than incarceration,” Bryant told a Baltimore television station. “When you put those dollars in education, you will see a transformation take place.”
Two weeks ago, the state approved construction on a $30 million youth jail, which would house juvenile offenders. The Department of Justice recently found that the city had been illegally detaining youth in adult jails, denying them of their education. The new center would provide inmates with schooling and improved medical facilities.
However, only one day after approving the juvenile detention funding, Gov. Hogan announced a statewide $68 million cut in public education funding—$11 million would come from the Baltimore area—citing a need to boost the state’s pension fund.
Though many state officials support the construction of the juvenile detention center, others, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, are hesitant.
“It sends an unusual and a peculiar message to the families of Baltimore,” Rawlings-Blake said to the Baltimore Sun.
Rev. Bryant said that the demonstrators would continue protesting until Gov. Hogan receives their message. “We are going to keep moving until the juvenile jail is, in fact, off the table and Baltimore public schools are able to compete on a statewide and a nationwide level,” he said.