Stop Putting Maryland Youth in Adult Jails: We can do better.
Check out our talking points:
The Just Kids: Baltimore’s Youth in the Adult Criminal System
The Just Kids Report
The Just Kids Partnership undertook qualitative and quantitative research, with a specific focus on Baltimore City, to find out more about youth who are charged as adults: who they are, what happens to them in the adult system, and whether our current policies are effective at rehabilitating youth and reducing crime.
We created a report detailing our findings and made several recommendations for reform. In essence, the State of Maryland needs to take significant steps toward effectively reducing crime, improving community safety, saving taxpayer dollars, and improving fairness of the judicial process for children who are charged as adults.
Download the Report
Ending the Automatic Prosecution of Youth As Adults
By law youth as young as 14 charged with certain crimes will be automatically sent to the adult criminal justice system based solely on age and offense. The bulk of these laws (excepting those in which a youth has been charged with a capital offense) were passed in the 1994, the result of a nationwide movement to “get tough on crime.” As detailed in the Just Kids Report and other studies, this practice is seriously flawed, casts a wide net that catches youth who can be held accountable in the juvenile system or should never be in the system at all, harms the youth who are involved, and does not deter crime or make communities any safer in the long run. The only way to change this mandatory charging practice, however, is to repeal the laws that allow for automatic prosecution.
To learn more about Maryland law and policy concerning youth charged as adults and about the Just Kids campaign to end this practice, read on.
- Fact Sheet - Repeal of Automatic Prosecution of Youth As Adults
- Fact Sheet - Outline of Maryland Law Re. Youth in the Adult System
- 5 Reasons Why Youth Should Not Be Charged as Adults (Check out our facebook page and petition to learn about why youth should not be charged as adults.
- HB786 Task Force (Amended) (During the 2013 General Assembly Session, HB 786, after much amendment, was passed. This bill creates the Task Force on Juvenile Jurisdiction. This taskforce will review how current policies and practices treat youth charged with serious crimes and will make a recommendation whether Maryland should end or limit its use of automatic charging and prosecution of youth as adults for certain crimes. )
- Just Kids Testimony in support of Task Force on Juvenile Jurisdiction
- SB 648/HB 786 (The original version of HB 786 (crossfiled as SB 648) proposed the full repeal of exclusionary offenses, meaning the end of automatic prosecution of youth as adults. )
- Just Kids Testimony in support of SB 648/HB 786
Pretrial Detention of Youth in Adult Jails
The Just Kids Partnership has been working to change where youth who are charged as adults are detained pretrial. Under current law every youth who is charged as an adult and subsequently detained is automatically placed in an adult jail while s/he or she awaits trial. They may be held in general population, in isolation or in a separate tier or floor with other youth, depending on the Maryland county. National and local studies consistently indicate that the prosecution and detention of juveniles in the adult criminal justice system places youth at increased risk of harm, is an inefficient use of public funds and does little if anything to reduce recidivism or deter criminal activity.
Download more Information:
- Article - Pre-trial Detention of Youth Tried as Adults (This article originally appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of the Maryland Bar Journal, and is reprinted/republished with permission from the Maryland State Bar Association)
- Fact Sheet Pretrial Detention Final
- SB454/HB848 ( This proposed legislation during the 2013 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session, now in its second year, seeks to remove youth out of adult jails by creating a presumption that except in specified exceptional circumstances youth charged as adults are to be held in a juvenile justice facility if detained pre-trial.)
- SB454/HB 848- Just Kids Testimony