Home Our Work Our Publications Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | MD

Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform | MD

Maryland: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 


  • Probation, Parole, and Reentry — Department of Juvenile Services Must Report on Implementation of Graduated Response System: The Maryland legislature passed a requirement that the Department of Juvenile Services report to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee on the implementation of a system of graduated responses for children under the jurisdiction of the Department. S.B. 536/Act No. 496, signed into law May 16, 2013; effective October 1, 2013.
  • Youth in the Adult System — Task Force Recommends Expanding Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court to Limit Number of Youth Charged as Adults: The Maryland legislature established a Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to study current laws relating to juvenile court jurisdiction and review research on best practices. The task force’s report, issued in December 2013, focuses on youth who are transferred to the adult system upon being charged with an offense that is automatically excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction. The report makes two recommendations: 1) completion of an analysis of the capital, programmatic, and staffing needs associated with a possible expansion of juvenile court jurisdiction, and 2) a revision of current law to expand juvenile court jurisdiction in certain specific situations, allowing such youth to request transfer from adult court back to juvenile court. H.B. 786/Act No. 639, signed into law May 16, 2013; effective June 1, 2013.
  • Adjudication and Sentencing — Maryland Limits Offenses Eligible for Out-of-Home Placement: Maryland passed legislation that prohibits out-of-home placement for youth adjudicated for certain minor offenses, including possession of marijuana, possession or purchase of a non-controlled substance, disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct, malicious destruction of property, or an offense involving inhalants, prostitution, theft, or trespassing. Judges may continue to order treatment for youth in the community or may place youth with another agency. The law provides exceptions for youth who have been previously adjudicated for three or more separate and independent offenses or upon a written finding from the court that out-of-home placement is deemed necessary for public safety or the child’s welfare. H.B. 916/Act No. 651, signed into law May 16, 2013; effective October 1, 2013.
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline — Juvenile Court and School Safety Workgroup Aims to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities through Diversion of School-Based Arrests and Court Referrals: The newly established Prince George’s County Juvenile Court and School Safety Workgroup is to develop interagency policies to reduce the number of school-based arrests and referrals to court by diverting youth to community-based programs. The initiative is modeled after similar reform work in Clayton County, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Baltimore, Maryland and is intended to be part of broader, statewide detention reform in Maryland. The group’s overarching goal is to reduce the over-representation of African-American youth in the system. The group submitted a report in December 2013 that reviews school arrest data and offers recommendations for interagency policies and diversion mechanisms, ways to reduce arrests through diversion to existing school and community-based programs, ways to reduce the over-representation of African-American youth in the county’s juvenile justice system, and specific criteria for diversion programs. H.B. 1338/Act No. 677, signed into law May 16, 2013; effective June 1, 2013.


  • Confidentiality and Expungement — Youth Transferred Back to Juvenile Court Become Eligible for Expungement of Criminal Records: Maryland amended its expungement provisions to allow youth transferred or “reverse waived” from adult court back to juvenile court for disposition at sentencing to file a petition for expungement and the court is required to grant it. Previously, youth could only file to expunge criminal charges when they were reverse waived to juvenile court prior to trial . S.B. 678/Act No. 563, signed into law May 22, 2012; effective October 1, 2012.
  • Alternatives to Detention and Youth Prisons — Legislature Mandates Examination of Detention Practices in Maryland: Maryland passed legislation requiring the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) to report on how it will work to ensure that youth charged as adults can be detained within juvenile facilities and how it will reduce the overall number of youth held in detention. DJS’ report, submitted in December 2012, discussed its work with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to reduce reliance on detention, use of prevention and diversion services, use of an objective risk assessment instrument to guide detention decisions, and efforts to reduce the numbers of youth held in detention while pending placement. H.B. 1122/Act No. 416, signed into law May 2, 2012; effective July 1, 2012.
  • Law Enforcement — Police Must Notify Parents or Guardians When Youth are Arrested: Maryland law now requires a law enforcement officer who charges a youth with a criminal offense to make a reasonable attempt to notify the child’s parent or guardian. Similarly, a law enforcement officer or the officer’s designee who takes a youth into custody is required to make a reasonable attempt to notify the youth’s parent or guardian of the arrest within 48 hours of the arrest. H.B. 1138/Act No. 417, signed into law May 2, 2012; effective October 1, 2012.
  • Organization and Large-Scale Change — Maryland Abandons Plans to Construct New Youth Jail: Following years of community opposition, in January of 2013 Maryland state officials abandoned plans to build a new jail for youth charged as adults in Baltimore. Officials cited declines in youth crime as the reasoning for the change, and acknowledged the community’s concerns that the jail was the wrong way to address youth in trouble with the law. Instead of building the jail—estimated to cost the state between $70 million and $100 million—the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services plans to retrofit a smaller facility to house youth charged with violent offenses that will cost $30 million. The plan also calls for youth charged as adults for nonviolent offenses to be held in a juvenile facility if they have a pending petition to have their cases sent back to juvenile court. Note that in 2016 advocates continue to fight against building the $30 million jail by working to change the state’s transfer laws so that fewer youth will be transferred to the adult system and the new jail will by unnecessary.


  • 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.

Back to the top »



  • 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.

Back to the top »



  • 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.

Back to the top »


Having trouble viewing the PDFs linked above in your Google Chrome web browser? Try opening the page using another web browser, such as Firefox. Alternatively, here are instructions on how to fix the problem in your Chrome browser.

Back to the top »

Photo: Michael Hilton, under Creative Commons License.