More Youth, Charged with Violent Crime, Filling Juvenile Jails

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BALTIMORE (WBFF) - Fox45’s Operation: Crime and Justice began investigating the number of young people charged with committing adult crimes after 16 year old Dawnta Harris was charged with killing a Baltimore County cop. What we found is a growing number of kids detained at juvenile facilities on accusations of violent crime like kidnapping, robbery, and attempted murder.

After Dawnta Harris was arrested for the murder of Police Officer Amy Caprio, Baltimore’s top prosecutor criticized juvenile justice in Maryland.

“This incident sheds light on an inherently broken juvenile justice system which provides a recurring door for troubled youth to graduate to more severe crimes, Marilyn Mosby said at a press conference.

Mosby says her office charged twice as many juveniles last year with attempted murder and murder than the year before.

According to Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) budget documents, the number of youths charged as adults in state juvenile facilities has more than tripled. The length of stay in detention has increased by almost two months.

Harris was not charged as an adult in auto theft cases before he was charged with Caprio’s murder. In an interview with the Secretary of Juvenile Justice, Investigative Reporter Joy Lepola asked:

“For the person at home who may believe that you didn’t do everything you possibly could to keep him off the streets, did you do everything possible?”

Abed replied: “We responded in accordance with his risk level. We don’t have an interest in detaining every kid that gets charged with an offense.”

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