WBFF ANNAPOLIS, Md.
Democrats in Maryland today offered their remedies for the state’s chronic problem with youth criminality. The public uproar from police, prosecutors, and victims led to the new legislative priorities.
Today, accountability is the buzzword. Democrats argue that the juvenile justice system in the state and young offenders alike need more of it. Republicans are, for once, in accord with this message.
Governor Wes Moore stated, “We’ve been clear that any juvenile justice bill that comes to my desk must emphasize accountability.”
Governor Moore unveiled a long list of legislative goals on Wednesday, drawing a crowded house at the Maryland State Capitol building to address the state’s alarming rise in juvenile criminality.
“We must ensure that decisions have repercussions. Indeed. Additionally, we must guarantee that our children are receiving the necessary rehabilitation, according to Moore.
“We must hold our state and our local agencies accountable for improving the juvenile justice system.” Senator Will Smith said.
Significant modifications to the overall plan:
- Requiring police to submit written records of minors they have detained.
- Decreasing the DJS intake decision-making deadline.
- Increasing the number of employees in the DJS ankle monitoring unit.
- Raising the probationary period for young offenders.
- and permitting the prosecution of minors under the age of 13 for several violent offenses that are presently prohibited under divisive reform legislation.
“We’re focusing on ensuring that the system works to improve public safety and rehabilitation.” Declarator Luke Clippinger said
If approved, minors under the age of 13 might be prosecuted for crimes like as using a handgun while in public, stealing a vehicle, abusing animals, and more.
“These crimes seem to be consistently the issues again from police officers hearing from them,” said Delegate Clippinger.
Probation periods would be increased from two years to four years for felonies and from six months to eighteen months for misdemeanors.
“What’s happening is that when someone is placed on probation the access to services isn’t happening quick enough and so the length of probation could be halfway over before they could even get enrolled into services.” Senator Smith said
Republicans in Congress generally support the demands for greater accountability and repercussions.
“I was encouraged by the tone of the rhetoric that we heard today, and we are also appreciative that they recognize the system is broken.” Senator Justin Ready said.
Senator Justin Ready, the minority whip, only cites one piece of unfinished business when proposing legislation to replace the Child Protection Interrogation Act, which requires an adult to be present before a juvenile may be questioned by law enforcement.
“They have this bizarre view that we shouldn’t have parents and children be able to work together to answer questions about crime, so we need to change that law.” Senator Ready said.
a modification that numerous state and local law enforcement officials have been advocating.
According to Maryland FOP president Clyde Boatwright, “It stops the juvenile from getting the services that they need because you don’t know what problem they actually have if you can’t talk to them.”
Malik Aziz, chief of Prince George’s County Police, stated, “It has become more difficult for police to question young people about anything.”
Democrats reiterate their claim that the legislation is misinterpreted.
“Police officer’s hands are not tied we’ve also built in a public safety exception, there’s a wide berth of latitude for them to effectuate, interrogate–you know uh investigations, so as long as it’s not an interrogation they have the tools available,” said Senator Smith.
Republicans say they are generally very much in favor of this approach. But they also worry that as this law moves through the parliamentary process, some of the tough-on-crime provisions may be softened.