xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

When should juveniles be tried as adults?

Deputy Attorney General for Maryland, Thiru Vignarajah, read a statement from the family of Hae Min Lee, reacting to the retrial hearing of Adnan Syed of "Serial," convicted in the murder of Hae Min Lee. (Baltimore Sun video)

Your editorial “How not to solve Baltimore’s problem of juvenile crime” (Nov. 13) seems to contend that youth offenders, even repeat violent ones, should be returned to the juvenile system partly because of that system’s rehabilitative focus.

That conclusion rests on the premise, however, that adult prisons are only good for punishment. To accept that assumption is to surrender the hope that the adult system can contribute gainfully to the rehabilitation of inmates.

Advertisement

Whether this is true or not today, we should not endorse that belief going forward because we need our correctional facilities to prepare inmates for a productive, lawful return to the streets of Baltimore. This is vital for both youth offenders and adults.

City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis is right that the revolving door of juvenile justice must be addressed. Part of that is making sure youth offenders are provided adequate and appropriate services to meet their needs, whether they are treated as juveniles or adults. Indeed, we will have an even bigger problem if we do not ensure that effective rehabilitation is one of the principal aims of adult prisons.

Advertisement
Advertisement

There are often good reasons why a youth offender should be transferred back to the juvenile system. But especially in the case of violent juvenile repeat offenders a lack of faith in the adult system to do its job should not be one of them.

Thiru Vignarajah, Baltimore

The writer is a candidate for Baltimore City state’s attorney.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement