August 16, 2011
New legislation in Maryland will help juvenile justice advocates get around a major road block to reform: access to information about the outcomes of services provided by the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). SB 200, introduced by Senator Bobby Zirkin and signed by the governor in May, requires the Secretary of DJS to report to the General Assembly on January 1 of each year on the recidivism rates of children committed to DJS for placement in any type of residential care. Prior to the bill’s passage, DJS did not report data by program; SB 200 will now require breakdowns by each program and placement.
Just Kids in Maryland, an NJJN member, supported the bill and pushed to make it as expansive as possible. The data collected as a result of this bill will help to develop a fuller picture of what is happening to youth in any type of Maryland DJS residential placement, and help advocates to better focus their reform efforts.