Juvenile Justice Reform Passes Both Chambers In The Maryland General Assembly

The bills now must be reconciled into one before it is sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

Annapolis, Md. (BW)- The Maryland State Senate passed a juvenile justice reform on Monday, March 4.

This comes just three days after the Maryland House of Delegates passed it’s own version of a juvenile justice reform.

Members of both chambers now must come together to reconcile the bills, creating one that will be sent to Governor Wes Moore.

“The two versions have some differences but I don’t think they are wide gaps between them,” Senator Justin Ready said.

Ready added he expects the bills to be reconciled and then signed into law.

The Senate version of the reform focusses on keeping young offenders (ages 10-12) more accountable for the crimes they commit, particularly firearms offenses, auto thefts and violent crimes.

It aims to increase punishment for offenders such as allowing offenders to be detained, extending probationary periods and speeding of the process of next steps in the Department of Juvenile Services.

Ready said he and other Republicans tried to amend the bill by allowing underage offenders to be questioned by law enforcement without a lawyer present, but the proposed amendment failed. Under current state law, officers cannot talk to juveniles even if a parent/guardian is present.

The House of Delegates and the Senate have until April 8 to send a reconciled bill to the Governor.