Juvenile Corrections

Support for:
  1. Use of specialized judges, counseling services and administration of juvenile cases all geared to dealing with families.
  2. Small, regional juvenile institutions.
  3. Individually designed training and treatment programs and local or regional diagnostic services for juvenile offenders.
  4. Coordination of programs and services for juvenile offenders provided by the state agencies.
  5. 24-hour supervised residential work and restitution centers with treatment programs available.


Background: In 1972, LWVMD reached consensus concerning general goals and specific priorities for state correctional institutions, and in 1973 consensus was reached on issues involving the Division of Parole and Probation, the Parole Board, Community Corrections, and alternatives to institutional incarceration. That year, LWVMD published Adult Corrections in Maryland, which described the Maryland correctional system.
A Juvenile Corrections study was also undertaken in 1973. An evaluation of the juvenile system was necessary to determine ways to alleviate the problems of the adult system. LWVMD published a “Facts and Issues”, Juvenile Corrections: Ideal vs. Reality in 1974, and consensus was reached that year. Subsequent consensuses (1985 and 1989) have enabled LWVMD to take action on many issues affecting juveniles entering the correctional system.
In 1985 a study of the correctional institutions and parole and probation procedures in Maryland was adopted. The study committee toured prisons and held workshops with the Commissioner of Corrections and others including a panel of persons involved in direct work with inmates. The study committee concluded that few of the conditions addressed by the 1973 consensus had improved, and in fact some had worsened due to increased overcrowding. It also concluded that the issue was so complex that the 1985 study should be limited to the Division of Corrections.
Consensus was reached in 1987 on issues centered on institutional conditions, which could contribute to successful reintegration of the offender. The 1973 position was reaffirmed, with new positions specific to institutional conditions. Many recommendations supported more resources to reintegrate offenders into the community through a program of treatment, training, education and work release, but budgetary and legislative support has been largely limited to “the secure confinement of offenders.” A majority of members felt that the current system was inadequate, that there should be more citizen involvement, and that the issue needed to be studied further. No studies have been undertaken by LWVMD since 1987.
  • Supported the incorporation into the juvenile justice system the philosophy of “restorative justice” (e.g. community service, restitution etc.) balancing the principles of public safety, with accountability of the child and his parents to the community. (1997 – achieved)
  • Opposed expanding the list of offenses for which, and the age at which, a juvenile could be tried as an adult. (1997)
  • Supported a safer and more humane environment for juvenile offenders via the setting of regulations and standards for state and subcontracted programs and services, which included codes of conduct for employees. (2000 and 2001 – not achieved)
  • Supported the expansion of the Juvenile Courts to include all children under 18, regardless initially of the seriousness of their alleged crimes. (2000 and 2001 – not achieved)
  • Opposed detaining juveniles in adult correctional facilities before trial or after conviction unless tried and convicted as adults. (2000 and 2001, defeated)