We are members of the Core Alliance of Youth Leaders of Community Law in Action. Many of us have been charged as adults and held at the Baltimore City Detention Center, an adult jail.
This week, Governor O’Malley’s administration announced that it will not build a $70 million 120-bed jail for youth who are charged as adults. Instead, it proposes spending $30 million to renovate an existing adult correctional facility that will be downsized to house up to 60 youth while they await their trials. Taking advantage of these savings, the administration also plans to build a treatment center for young people who are committed to the juvenile justice system and in need of residential treatment services. The total cost of these two ventures is estimated to be $73 million.
Prison design and architecture has been closely entwined with public debates over prison policy and the meaning of justice in a democracy since the earliest days of the Republic.
Did you know that Maryland officials plan to spend almost $100 million dollars to build a new jail in Baltimore City? This jail would be used exclusively for youth, ages 14 through 17, who are arrested, charged as an adult and locked up as they wait for their trials to be held. In these hard economic times, we believe that a new jail is unnecessary and a waste of tax-payer dollars.
Just before the holidays, the Governor quietly submitted a letter to chairmen of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Committee on Appropriations. The letter includes a new recommendation that the State spend millions of dollars to build a 120-bed facility for youth under 18 charged as adults rather than a 180-bed facility, as originally planned.
Maryland automatically charges youth as adults for certain offenses and detains them in adult jails pretrial, before any finding of guilt. These practices don’t work to reduce crime or rehabilitate youth.
Since the beginning of time many groups have overcome situations where their advancement within the hierarchy of society was undermined. From women to racial groups, many have seemingly broken the “glass ceiling” looming over their heads. Yet I have a hard time believing teenagers facing the prospect of jail and prison as the only viable […]