Baltimore Youth Jail Will Not Be — State Shifts Approach to Teen Crime

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For now, this empty lot is going to stay that way.
For now, this empty lot is going to stay that way.

The ever-looming Baltimore youth jail — which was to hold juveniles charged as adults — is not going to be built after all. The state, if it gets the approval of the General Assembly, will instead spend $73 million sending more juvenile offenders to treatment programs, more or less per the May 2011 recommendation of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. A facility will still be set up dedicated to holding juveniles charged with violent crimes, but the state plans to “renovate a smaller facility” for that.

Longstanding opponents of the jail must be breathing a huge sigh at the news, since long after the case against the jail had been clearly articulated — as recently as October — plans for its construction were marching along. It was all but a certainty.

The plan includes a new policy whereby “a portion of the youths charged as adults [could] stay in the city’s juvenile facility while they petition to have their cases sent to the juvenile system.” Could this be the beginning of a sea change in the state’s punitive and simplistic”tough on crime” stance?

For more information, read the article in the Baltimore Sun.



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