Juvenile Justice Reform Council May Recommend an Age Minimum for Prosecuting Youth Offenders

The state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Council voted Thursday to add the jurisdiction of the courts to its list of top priorities to focus on for the fall, allowing officials to discuss the appropriate age at which children should interact with the criminal justice system. “I don’t see how we have a robust and comprehensive reform plan without including that,” said Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City) at a virtual hearing on Thursday. The council, consisting of lawmakers, law enforcement officers, attorneys and advocates, plans to issue recommendations to increase public safety and address recidivism of young offenders. Maryland currently does not have a minimum age of prosecution for kids charged with crimes. “There used to be a floor in Maryland,” said Jenny Egan, chief attorney for the juvenile division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. “We used to follow the common law, and that there was a presumption of infancy for children under the age of 14.”
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