ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A bill in Maryland looks to keep accused teens out of adult prisons while awaiting trial.
The proposal would require criminal courts to have teens as young as 14 to be held at a secure juvenile facility instead of going to prison during pretrial. Advocates say youth are spending on average four months in adult jail, missing an equivalent of a semester in school with 70 percent of their crimes ultimately being dismissed.
"They're just accused of committing those crimes and when you look at what happens with the case, the majority of the kids are getting sent back to the juvenile system or having the case dismissed," said Kara Aanenson of Just Kids Partnership. "There's no reason why they should be sitting in an adult jail cell."
The bill was heard in the House Friday afternoon and will now go to the Senate for a hearing on Thursday.