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When it comes to public safety, what's best for kids in trouble is best for everyone. More than 20 years of research and experience show that age-appropriate support and services are far more effective at reducing recidivism among young people than punishment and incarceration.

Let's follow the facts, not our fears.


Maryland has a long history of over-criminalizing and incarcerating young people, particularly young people of color. A 2020 report from Human Rights for Kids described Maryland's treatment of kids in the criminal legal system as among the worst in the nation.

But the tides are turning. In 2022, Maryland passed our most important juvenile justice reforms in a generation: the Juvenile Justice Reform Act and the Child Interrogation Protection Act. Together, these laws protect the rights of our children, make our communities safer, and give young people the services and support they need to get back on track.


Leaders who are serious about safety know that effective responses to any problem must be informed by facts, not fears. It's time to help concerned communities understand what really works to reduce misbehavior among young people and build the infrastructure of age-appropriate support and services that can help youth who are still reeling from the pandemic's profound disruptions.

Policymakers must take action now. The Maryland Youth Justice Coalition is calling upon lawmakers to enhance public safety by

  • Restoring, expanding, and coordinating access to age-appropriate supports and services for children and teens

  • Preserving the Juvenile Justice Reform Act and the Child Interrogation Protection Act, and

  • Advancing the Youth Equity and Safety Act, which will end automatically charging hundreds of children as if they were adults, in adult criminal court

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