A little more than two years ago, with advocates locked in a fierce battle against then-Gov. Martin O'Malley's plans to spend $70 million to build a youth jail, I made the case to invest those precious dollars on programs that would benefit youth and are proven to help prevent juvenile delinquency.
Since then, juvenile rates of delinquency have remained at record lows, and research continues to disprove widely-adopted tough-on-crime policies. I wrote about how our continued focus on punitive measures failed our children and left them unable to become productive citizens as adults.
"We have a juvenile justice system that is failing our children, and the answer is not to throw millions of dollars down the drain building a new jail," I wrote in October 2012.
As we face a lack of investment in public education, after-school programming, youth employment and recreation, the answer is not to double-down on a failed policy of spending additional money to arrest and lock up our youth.