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Are diversion programs the answer to reducing juvenile crimes?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | CRIMINAL LAW - Criminal Defense

When a Maryland juvenile commits a crime, they are putting their future at risk. Parents may be understandably concerned about their child after a criminal charge and may wonder what can be done to help prevent it from happening again. Some legislators believe that leniency and the use of diversion programs may prevent minors from reoccurring criminal activity. If put into law, HB814 would make some changes to how the state handles juvenile crime cases, and not everyone is happy with those changes.  

Does leniency work? 

HB814 just passed the Maryland House. Supporters of the bill believe that early intervention can reduce repeat offenses among minors. The bill would increase opportunities for diversion programs for offenders between the ages of 10 and 12. It would also make changes to the decision-making process when it comes to charging minors with certain crimes.  

Those who oppose the bill believe it doesn’t do enough to deter minors from repeatedly committing crimes. Many think that the bill may instead lead to a higher crime rate among minors because of the lack of consequences. Debates will ensue from both sides to determine if it will become law. 

Criminal defense 

Youthful offenders must seek legal advice promptly when facing criminal charges. A conviction can have an impact on one’s future so it’s important for parents to work with someone who understands Maryland’s laws when deciding how best to protect one’s child in such a difficult situation. An attorney can help parents understand the process and make the best choices for their child’s future based on the available options.