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Settlement Reached in Boot Camp Suit

March 29, 2002

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ The state has agreed to pay about $4 million to settle lawsuits surrounding three boot camps that were shut down because guards abused teen-age inmates.

Gov. Parris Glendening ordered the state-run camps closed in 1999 after The (Baltimore) Sun reported the abuse. Troubled teens sent to the camps were supposed to be reformed by military-style training and discipline.

Investigators concluded the assaults were widespread and dated to 1996, when the first camp opened in western Maryland.

The settlement covers almost 900 inmates, officials said. Those who suffered the worst abuse will receive $100,000. Others will get lesser amounts, and a $2.1 million fund will be created to pay tuition to colleges and trade schools.

``It’s a good agreement″ for the Department of Juvenile Justice, said Assistant Attorney General Maureen Dove. ``It puts this whole matter behind them.″

John Coale, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the state has made a good faith effort to improve juvenile facilities.

``The systemic changes are not in the settlement because they have already happened or the state is well on its way to doing it,″ he said.

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