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Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | MD

Maryland: 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | Resources


  • Probation, Parole, and Reentry — Baltimore City Educational Project Helps Youth Leaving Detention Reenter Schools: In April 2009, as part of Baltimore City’s disproportionate minority contact (DMC) reduction efforts and the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change DMC Action Network, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and Baltimore City Public Schools collaborated to develop an education placement procedure for youth leaving detention, with the goal of expediting placement in appropriate community-based academic programs. The project, which involves representatives from detention, schools, probation, and community service providers, ensures that youth are placed in academic programs within five days of release from detention. The project connected 82 youth with academic placements within an average of 3.7 days of release from detention during its first 12 months.
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline — Schools May No Longer Suspend or Expel Students Solely Because of Attendance-Related Offenses: Maryland schools are now prohibited from suspending or expelling students based solely on attendance-related offenses. Attendance-related offenses include cutting class, tardiness, and truancy. The law includes an exception for in-school suspension. The legislation aims to keep youth in school and promote educational opportunity by addressing the underlying reasons for multiple absences. H.B. 660/Ch. 231, signed into law May 7, 2009; effective July 1, 2009.
  • Confidentiality and Expungement — Youth Gain Opportunity for Record Expungement: Youth in Maryland may petition for the expungement from the criminal system of an adult charge upon transfer of the case back to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The law repeals provisions limiting the circumstances under which a youth could file for—and a court was required or authorized to grant—expungement of the criminal charge after the case had been transferred to the juvenile court. The law now mandates that upon petition to the juvenile court, the court must order the adult record expunged. This legislation will diminish the stigma for youth of having adult charges on their records in cases where the charges were ultimately deemed most appropriate for juvenile court. H.B. 1227/Ch. 712, signed into law May 19, 2009; effective October 1, 2009.
  • Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) — Baltimore’s Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Transition Center Wins National Award for Best Practices for DMC Reduction: In November 2009, the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recognized Baltimore’s Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Transition Center (PACT Center) with its 2009 Best Practices Award for DMC reduction. The PACT Center stemmed from the recommendations of the city’s DMC Advisory Board, which highlighted the need for additional community-based alternatives to secure detention. The program focuses on those youth who would otherwise be detained because of a lack of success in less intensive alternatives to detention. Located in West Baltimore, the program provides support services to youth to ensure that they attend scheduled court hearings, avoid re-arrest, and appear in court with a comprehensive needs assessment and individualized plan that identifies community resources to help prevent future delinquency. A University of Maryland evaluation indicated that of the more than 400 youth served by the program from July 2007 to March 2010, 98 percent appeared for their scheduled court hearings and 92 percent did not reoffend while participating in the program, with 99 percent of the total youth served being African American.

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  • School-to-Prison Pipeline — Legislature Requires Cultural Competency Training for Police in Schools: The Maryland General Assembly enacted a “Cultural Competency Model Training Curriculum” law that requires the Maryland Police Training Commission to develop a cultural competency model training curriculum for law enforcement and school resource officers assigned to public schools. The goal of the training is to provide officers with resources and tools to reduce school arrests. H.B. 983/Ch. 371, signed into law May 4, 2010; effective July 1, 2010.

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  • Girls in the System — Department of Juvenile Services Develops Plan for Equitable Services for Girls: Legislation passed in Maryland required the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) to create a detailed plan to provide equitable resources for girls’ services starting in FY 2013. The DJS report, which was published in February 2012, includes statewide and regional information on prevention and diversion services, alternatives to detention, and educational and vocational training services. The legislation stemmed from serious disparities and limitations in availability of services for girls in Maryland. The legislative effort also increased DJS’ overall focus on girls, leading the Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Training Center (PACT)—a Baltimore City intensive alternative to detention—to expand in October 2011 to include girls. S.B. 787/Ch. 200, signed into law May 10, 2011; effective July 1, 2011.
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline — General Assembly Creates School Safety Task Force: The Maryland General Assembly created the School Safety Task Force in order to make recommendations on school safety training programs; creation of a positive school environment; school safety courses for school police officers; establishment of a clearinghouse for information and materials concerning school safety; and development of model agreements between local school systems, health departments, departments of social services, mental health agencies, and juvenile courts. H.B. 79/Ch. 551, signed into law May 19, 2011; effective June 1, 2011.
  • Organizational and Large-Scale Change — State Commits to Gathering Data on Outcomes of Juvenile Justice Services: New legislation in Maryland will help increase access to information about the outcomes of services provided by the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). The law 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; the law will now require breakdowns by each program and placement. S.B. 200/Ch. 194, signed into law May 10, 2011; effective October 1, 2011.

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Photo: Michael Hilton, under Creative Commons License.