**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday she has appointed Sam Abed, the former secretary of Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services, as acting director of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

Abed replaces Trey Stanback, who has served as the agency’s interim director since Hilary Cairnes’ departure in February.

“This is the kind of work that I love,” said Abed, 47. “I look forward to coming to D.C. and working with Mayor Bowser to help young people. The challenges young people face in D.C. are not unique. Car thefts and carjackings are not only up in D.C. but around the country.”

The mayor made the announcement at the Howard University Centers of Excellence in Northwest.

Abed led Maryland’s juvenile services department under Gov. Martin O’Malley from 2011-2013. His responsibilities included management and operation of the state’s juvenile justice system encompassed support services, operations, intake, probation supervision, detention, and treatment of committed young people in 11 youth centers throughout Maryland.

He chaired the Maryland Juvenile Reform Council, where he was charged with identifying and making recommendations to mitigate risk factors that contribute to juvenile contact with the justice system.

Abed has worked as the chief deputy director of operations at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice from 2006-2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Tech University and a Juris Doctorate from the T.C. Williams, University of Richmond School of Law.

Abed said he will follow the dictates of Bowser but expressed concerns about juveniles being housed in adult correctional facilities.

“Adult prisons and jails are not places for children,” he said. “Young people should be housed with other youth.”

Abed said he understands that Black and brown youth in the District sometimes are not treated as well as they should in the juvenile justice system. He said that as director, he is open to reviewing policies and procedures affecting juveniles of color and will make necessary adjustments.

Abed made it clear he views the D.C. Superior Court, the D.C. Office of the Attorney General — which serves as the primary prosecutor of youth crimes in the District — and the U.S. Attorney’s Office as partners in correcting juvenile delinquents.

“They are critical stakeholders,” he said. “I will work on training judges on juvenile justice issues and engage the attorney general’s office on tools to make decisions regarding young people.”

Abed, who currently resides in Baltimore, said he will move to a Northwest neighborhood soon and plans on being visible in the city.

“I will attend neighborhood meetings with our public safety partners,” he said. “I will also work to engage churches, social organizations, and other stakeholders to help our youth live better lives.”

Join the Conversation


  1. If Abed uses “car thefts and jackings” as his point of reference in his opening statement from Baltimore, he’s in for a rough tenure with DYRS!

    What happened to the “positive youth development” days of evangelist Vinnie Shiraldie back-in-the-day when the District elevated DYRS to a cabinet level agency and gave it a serious multi-million budget?

    He better look for a spot in Southeast if he is serious about finding some ‘stakeholders’ in addressing the exploding rise in youth crime and the adjudicated population!

    His JD may not help in DC Courts revolving door justice where street wise ‘Youfs’ know and game the system inside out! Uptown answers may not get this No Win Job done, ask Vinnie!


  2. The appointment appears apropos experientially, youth oriented and community outreach! It is very important to involve community partners, churches, police socialization involvement and embolden youth oriented groups, one example gun violence and grievances programs. Lastly, DYRS community based residential programs need special contract service delivery scrutiny to improve. Accountability must be assessed structurally through quantified and qualified measures empowering youth transformation. Finally, his acknowledgement; separating youth offenders from adult offenders is a key in this “road map” along with family involvement in transformation endeavors.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *