Home > Policies > Youth Justice Policy > Legislative Priorities > Allow Juvenile Court Judges the Option to Divert Cases

When a child first enters the juvenile justice system, he or she may be diverted away from a formal court case in favor of an informal resolution. This may involve the completion of a substance abuse program, or an anger management course, or even writing a letter of apology, depending on the circumstances. When a case is resolved this way, there is no trial and no record of a criminal conviction. To keep kids from becoming ever more deeply involved in the system, ACY favors more cases being resolved through diversion instead of a formal court proceeding.

However, current Maryland law does not allow judges to propose diversion. When a case reaches them, it is too late for diversion, even if diversion is appropriate. ACY supports changing current law to allow judges to divert cases that ought to be resolved informally.

Update:

February 2, 2015
We are working with lawmakers to finalize the language of a bill to extend to juvenile court judges the option of diversion.

To view an infographic that details the juvenile justice process, click here.

Update:

March 25, 2015
Yesterday, ACY’s Youth Justice Policy Director testified in support of SB856, a bill to extend judicial discretion as described above.  To read the testimony, click here.