The Prince George's County Council yesterday passed legislation requiring criminal offenders in local rehabilitation programs to register with police in an attempt to get a handle on how many programs are operating.
Officials discovered this year that the programs were not required to register with the county after two juvenile offenders from the District were shot to death in a Mount Rainier apartment complex where they had been assigned to live as part of a court-ordered rehabilitation and housing program.
Council member Peter A. Shapiro (D-Brentwood), whose district includes Mount Rainier, said he had no idea that the program was operating out of the complex.
"This will provide the police and community leaders with a tool to help us figure out how many alternative sentencing programs there are," said Shapiro, who sponsored the legislation. "My fear is that there is an overabundance of programs like this in neighborhoods like mine."
The bill applies to juvenile and adult offenders from Prince George's County and other jurisdictions who have been ordered by a court to participate in supervised rehabilitation and housing programs in the county as an alternative to jail.
It also requires the programs to register and to notify county police within 24 hours when courts send new offenders to them.
The teenagers who were killed in Mount Rainier, 17-year-old Tron Giovonnie Lindsey and 18-year-old Tyrone Wallace, had been ordered by D.C. Superior Court to participate in the 24-hour supervision program managed by Educational Solutions Academy Inc. The company operated 12 apartments for young men and women in the sprawling Queenstown complex.
So-called interstate compacts between the District and Maryland required program administrators to notify the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice when the teenagers were sent to the Mount Rainier program. But nothing required the county to be notified.
That will change with the new measure, which passed 9 to 0.
"If the District of Columbia is going to send their criminals to residential programs in Prince George's County, we certainly ought to have an opportunity to know about it," said council member Thomas R. Hendershot (D-New Carrollton).