MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — In a public safety meeting, Montgomery County officials discussed possible solutions to juvenile crime.
When a child under the age of 18 commits a crime, the child is generally referred to the state juvenile justice system. Unlike the adult criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system’s goal is to focus on the child’s needs by providing support and rehabilitative services.
“We hear about the school to prison pipeline and and we need to make certain that the resources that are needed for that young person are there so that there is no school to prison pipeline,” Public Safety Comittee Chair, Sidney Katz, said.
Montgomery County Councilmember Dawn Luedtke said behaviors, like threats of mass violence, create a substantial drain on public safety resources.
“The same kids are engaging in the same conduct multiple times and it doesn’t appear that the Department of Juvenile Services is doing any interventions at the inception of the incident when there’s been an arrest or a referral from the police department or in from the school system,” Luedtke said.
Earlier this month, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) said a 12-year-old boy was responsible for the multiple bomb threats targeting some Montgomery County Public Schools.
Another incident occured when a 17-year-old student brought a gun to school and was charged as an adult.
However, according to MCPD’s most recent data, there was a downward trend in juvenile arrests from 2013 to 2021. There have been 845 juvenile arrests so far this year.
“None of those things is new or unusual to me. They are concerning,” Luedtke said.
Luedtke said in terms of any changes, that would affect juvenile justice, that would have to happen at the state level and there may be legislative changes in the state’s upcoming 2024 General Assembly session.