Baltimore Youth Need Services, Not Prisons
This op-ed was published in the Baltimore Sun on November 29, 2017. You can read the whole article here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1130-juvenile-offenders-20171129-story.html
Anyone who has tried to debate a high school freshman knows perhaps one of the world’s universal truths: Teenagers are not rational adults. This simple truism, experienced by parents the world over, is also why children should not be tried as adults.
The leadership in the Baltimore City Police Department and State’s Attorney’s Office disagree. They claim that some children are not “regular kids,” but “violent offenders” who should be treated as adults and locked up.
My office represents a child who was only a toddler when his family found him chewing on paint chips. Lead paint, which remains an epidemic in Baltimore, attacks the brain and central nervous system, causing cognitive deficits and behavioral disorders that can impair decision-making abilities.
Police claim he robbed numerous people. That is all you will hear about him on the nightly news. What you won’t hear is how many days he went without food before his first stick up or how thin he was when arrested. You won’t hear from the police podium how adults guided him toward these crimes. Politicians won’t tell you how the robbery proceeds went directly into the hands of the adults who failed him his whole life. He can’t vote, can’t rent an apartment, can’t enroll in the military or make a medical decision for himself. He is not an adult in any way, shape or form, but the Maryland criminal justice system wants to punish him like one.
The complete article is available here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1130-juvenile-offenders-20171129-story.html