An open letter to Gov. Moore.
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An Open Letter

To: Gov. Moore

From: A verified voter in Baltimore, MD

May 1

I'm writing today to urge you to veto HB814. Maryland can do better—for public safety, racial equity, and improved outcomes for kids. HB814 is a deeply flawed reaction, not a solution. It was conceived as a response to a problem of perception, but its consequences, especially for kids of color, will be real and harsh. And in the long run, HB814 will make us all less safe. More than two decades of research and experience show that drawing children deeper into the juvenile legal system increases their chances of being arrested again on new charges. Only two elements of this legislation warrant your support: Institutionalizing the Thrive Academy, an intervention focused on youth within the Department of Juvenile Services who are at the highest risk of gun violence, and creating a permanent commission to study how the juvenile legal system is operating in order to make consensus-based recommendations for improvements based on data and national best practices. Both can be created by immediate executive action and codified, under your leadership, in the next legislative session. All Maryland residents have a right to feel safe. But Maryland’s children and adolescents also have a right to due process and a chance for a better future. The good news is that these rights are not in competition; they are complementary. All the evidence shows: When it comes to public safety, what’s best for kids is best for everyone. I urge you to stand up for our kids and our communities, and veto HB814.

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