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(6,162 posts)
Mon Feb 5, 2024, 03:11 PM Feb 2024

Why lawmakers say they have to change Maryland's youth justice laws


I am not surprised by this, but the article points out some interesting things. The actual stats for teen crimes are low - it's just that it evokes a response in people when it happens. Also, the government did not offer more funding for child rehabilitative services. Instead they threw money into gathering more statistics, and told the different agencies to communicate better. The rolling back of reforms addresses the public infuriation with the car thefts and the children with guns. But the roll-back is not complete. And it still focuses on rehabilitation and probation.

I will try to choose 4-5 good paragraphs (the paragraphs are only one sentence long!) in case there's a paywall.

Last week, lawmakers shared how they’ll rework the juvenile justice system in an attempt to curb youth crimes, such as auto thefts and handgun violations. They’ve also justified the reasoning behind those choices.

Coming into this legislative session, the leaders of Maryland’s Democratic supermajority faced public outrage over mounting auto thefts committed by children and adults and a raft of high-profile gun crimes involving teens as suspects and as victims.

From the podium Wednesday, Senate President Bill Ferguson said crimes committed by teens, although less than 10% of overall crimes, contributes to a “crime perception challenge.”

“Instead of investing in programming and services that are proven to change behavior, this legislation will make us less safe by punishing children who need support and giving a pass to our state’s dysfunctional law enforcement and juvenile justice systems,” Alice Wilkerson said in a statement, speaking on behalf of the Maryland Youth Justice Coalition.

During their monthslong probe, lawmakers said they found agencies weren’t sharing data, and weren’t collaborating in the best interests of children. So, they’ve proposed a commission to oversee all juvenile agency programs, research best practices, analyze data, review fatalities in the system and report annually to the General Assembly.
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