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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (7News) — As juvenile crime continues to spike, 7News has learned two Maryland legislative committees are planning to dig into the accusation that juvenile justice reform laws they’ve passed are contributing to the problem.

The House Judiciary chair announced with a letter a September hearing to “address the intersection of juvenile justice and gun crimes.”

Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair Will Smith says he, too, is seeking answers.

“I think a lot of the reforms we put in place over the years will bear fruit and make our system more just and our society more safe,” Smith said. “But we have to acknowledge the crisis that we’re in.”

Md. State Senator Will Smith
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy wants the legislature to know he has a list of new laws he’d like changed:

the complete prohibition on charging those 13 and under,
the prohibition on detaining a juvenile for technical probation violations,
capping probation at 6 months,
a prohibition on detaining a juvenile for misdemeanors, McCarthy says those misdemeanors are often assaults committed by repeat offenders.
“I am concerned that in some instances the legislature got involved in redrafting fundamental principles of constitutional law,” McCarthy said.

“They come in, we can’t detain them,” McCarthy said. “They’re back in the community the next day. They get picked up for the second one. Can’t detain them, they’re back in the community again the next day. They pick up a up a third. They’re back in the community again the next day. That is frustrating to the community and it’s frustrating to us because without the detention we are not getting the attention of the child.”

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy
Smith says he hears the concerns loud and clear but cautions wholesale changes aren’t likely.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t tweak and we are going to tweak,” Smith said.

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