Shutting off the school-to-prison pipeline

Black youths are six times more likely to be arrested than their white classmates. In Baltimore City, where the number of youth arrests overall has declined, the arrest rate for African American minors has increased. Youths facing serious charges are often tried as adults in Maryland. Policies and practices need to be instituted to reduce the racial and ethnic disparities of the system and to eliminate the school to prison pipeline.

Jon is devoted to using resources to reduce the racial and ethnic disparities in Maryland’s juvenile justice system. Jon supported the establishment of a Task Force on Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and voted to prohibit a minor from waiving the right to the assistance of counsel, to have an expert determine the competency of a child in delinquency hearings, and to develop an At-Risk Youth Prevention and Diversion Program. Jon also voted to allow for the expungement of juvenile criminal charges.

Children who commit petty crimes should not be treated like hardened criminals. Instead, we need to intervene at exactly the point where intervention does the most good: during childhood. Kids deserve a second chance instead of being discarded into the revolving door of the criminal justice system.