FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 2, 2008
CONTACT: Janet Eveleth, MSBA (410) 685-7878
   

VOLUNTEER LAWYERS RESCUE YOUTH OFFENDERS
FROM LIFE OF CRIME THROUGH TEEN COURT

-State Bar Launches Push for Statewide Expansion to Help More
Juveniles Offenders at April 21 Law Day Conference-


 


One of out every 100 Americans is now in prison. The Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project reports over 2.3 million adults were incarcerated at the beginning of 2008, and many of these inmates started as juvenile delinquents. In Maryland, volunteer lawyers are working with juvenile offenders to divert them from a life of crime. In the last ten years they have rescued over 6500 youth offenders from the juvenile justice system through Maryland’s 10 local Teen Courts, and now these volunteer lawyers and judges want to go statewide to help juvenile offenders in every county.

On April 21, at a special Law Day Conference, the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA) is initiating a statewide push to expand Teen Court so juvenile offenders in every county have access to this juvenile justice alternative. Teen Court, a public service project supported by MSBA volunteer lawyers and judges, is an early intervention program that diverts non-violent offenders, aged 11-17, from the juvenile justice system, saving them from a life of hardened crime.

Teen Courts currently exist in 10 jurisdictions: Anne Arundel, Caroline, Charles, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s and Talbot Counties and Baltimore City. MSBA will launch its expansion effort on April 21 at its Teen Court Law Day Conference. Volunteer lawyers and judges will join high school students and teachers at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, 9 AM - 3 PM, to address juvenile delinquency issues in their local communities by establishing Teen Courts.

Highlights of this event include viewing a DVD of an actual Teen Court hearing, the enactment of a live mock trial hearing in action and a keynote address by Maryland’s Chief Judge, Robert M. Bell.

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