The Just Kids Campaign is a statewide advocacy campaign working to stop the automatic prosecution of youth as adults in Maryland.
The Just Kids Campaign is working to change the way youth are treated in the Maryland criminal justice system through:
The Core Alliance of Youth Leaders
The Campaign’s key spokespeople, the Core Alliance of Youth Leaders, are young people who have been directly impacted by Maryland’s criminal justice system and work as advocates on the Just Kids Campaign. They organize community events, educate the public, and share their personal stories in diverse venues to achieve statewide system reform that benefits other young people.
According to Maryland law, a youth as young as 14 charged with one of 33 offenses is automatically sent to the adult criminal justice system. The practice is fundamentally flawed for the following reasons:
Automatically charging youth as adults is not effective.
In Maryland, 70% percent of youth who are charged as adults either have their cases transferred back to the juvenile system and are given probation or have their case dismissed.
Charging youth as adults does not reduce crime, it makes crime worse.
Multiple national studies have found that a child in the adult system is more likely to commit future, more violent crimes than a child treated in the juvenile system.
Treating a youth as an adult leaves them with a lifetime of collateral consequences.
Any guilty plea or finding in adult court produces a criminal record even if the youth does not spend any time in adult prison.
We need you!
In order to change the way that youth charged as adults are treated in Maryland, we need your help. Know when to act! Receive campaign updates and action alerts straight to your inbox.