Welcome to the Just Kids Storybank blog!
The Just Kids Partnership is working to change laws that impact how youth are treated in the criminal justice system. The main goal of the Just Kids Partnership is to stop the automatic prosecution of youth as adults in Maryland. The practice of automatically charging youth as adults means that if a child as young as 14 is accused of one of 33 offenses they are automatically treated like an adult – they are placed in an adult jail before their trial, they face adult collateral consequences and they are in charge of their representation.
The intention of this blog is to increase awareness and understanding about why it is so important that youth are kept out of adults system. The posts and media on this blog are created by youth who were charged as adults and their allies who are invested in finding healthier, safer and more effective solutions for justice.
Charging youth as adults does not work. The adult system, which focuses on punishment over rehabilitation, does not reduce crime. Research found that a child in the adult criminal justice system is more likely to commit future more violent crimes than a child in the juvenile system.
Furthermore, most youth charged as adults do not receive adult convictions. Almost 70% of youth in Baltimore who are initially charged as adults are released (stet, PBJ or NP) or have their cases sent to the juvenile system. However, they spend an average of 5 months in adult jail before their trials. During their time in adult jail, youth are at a higher risk of violent assault, sexual assault, rape and death than they are in the juvenile system (Just Kids Report, 2010).
Stopping the automatic prosecution of youth as adults would mean that no matter the offense a youth is charged with their case will start in the juvenile justice system unless the state attorney’s office requests a hearing to have the case the adult system. All youth will be held in a juvenile facility and have access to rehabilitative services.
What can you do to make this possible?
To learn more visit us at http://www.justkidsmaryland.org and find us on Facebook or Twitter (JustKidsMD)
If you were charged as an adult when you were under 18 and you are interested in sharing your story, please contact Shannon at Shannon@cliayouth.org or call 410.706.3875