Stop Baltimore Youth Jail! Invest in Alternatives!
  • Petitioned Maryland Governor

This petition was delivered to:

Maryland Governor

Stop Baltimore Youth Jail! Invest in Alternatives!

    1. Petition by

      Campaign for Youth Justice

The state of Maryland is on the verge of building a new jail for youth charged as adults, spending more than $100 million dollars!  This proposed 180-230 bed jail is not needed and will not improve public safety outcomes.   

The State's bed space forecast has been reviewed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, one of the nation's oldest and most respected criminal justice research organizations, and found serious methodological flaws that put into question the accuracy of its projections.

Link to the report:

http://www.nccd-crc.org/nccd/dnld/Home/focus0710.pdf

Instead of spending over $100 million for the construction and operation of a new jail for youth, Maryland Governor O'Malley could take these actions:

First, Governor O'Malley should support legislation to stop automatically charging youth as adults.  In Maryland, youth as young as 14 can be automatically prosecuted in adult court. This is harmful to youth and studies show this does not increase public safety.

Second, Governor O'Malley should stop detaining youth in adult jails.  Youth are at serious risk of physical and sexual assault in adult jails and do not have access to educational services and other crucial programming.  If a youth must be detained for public safety reasons, the youth should be placed in a juvenile detention facility.

Third, instead of building a new facility, Governor O'Malley should only detain youth who may pose a risk to public safety and only place these youth in a juvenile detention center, such as the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, as they await their day in court.  The State of Virginia recently passed a law to place youth who are charged as adults in juvenile detention centers, not adult jails.  This could happen in Maryland today, under existing law.

Finally, Governor O'Malley should reduce the youth population at the City’s juvenile detention center by using and expanding community-based alternatives to detention. Not only do alternatives to detention produce better outcomes, they cost less.  At a daily cost of $400 to house a youth in a juvenile detention facility, releasing those who do not need to be detained according to juvenile service’s own risk assessments and placement orders would save the state $28,800 a day or $10.5 million a year.  A portion of these savings can be used to support evidence- and practice-based alternatives to detention. 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Baltimore Youth Rally to Demand Schools, Not Prisons

      Opponents of a new $104 million juvenile jail have been calling on Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to reconsider its construction since 2005, when the facility was first suggested. But, last weekend it came to a head when hundreds of people,...

    2. Why 'Adult Time for Adult Crime' Doesn't Work

      Trying children in adult courts and locking them in adult prisons and jails is cruel and counterproductive, and a new report from Baltimore shows us just how badly “adult time for adult crime” policies have failed.
      Released last week by a...

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Kathleen Holden LAUREL, MD
      • almost 3 years ago

      Because you are closing youth centers in the city......seems ass backwards to me

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lillie Branch-Kennedy HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA
      • about 3 years ago

      Signing on behalf of RIHD Youth Initiative in support of all Baltimore YOUTH! Invest in Alternatives.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Melissa Melissa BTANOTECRHMQUDPIZLV, KY
      • about 3 years ago

      I see, I supospe that would have to be the case.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gabby Gabby IUQRUHQZHQFRPN, NH
      • about 3 years ago

      Yo, that's what's up trtuhfully.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sarah Shepherd SEVERN, MD
      • over 3 years ago

      I believe that other correctional alternatives are more cost-efficient and, more importantly, more ethical. One of the goals of incarceration as a means of correction is to rehabilitate the offender, but it often has the opposite effect. Even the people who have messed up should be given the chance to improve their lives. Instead, our society has told them they are worthless and deserve to be locked up and treated poorly, and eventually they start to believe it, continuing to behave the same way or more poorly. What goes in is what is going to come out. If you put in something negative, you're going to get something negative.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.