During a momentously challenging period in the USA, there are various epidemics that began long before 2020. One such epidemic is the US prison (or Corrections) system, which has seen years of mass incarceration, privatisation, scandals of prisoners working at near-slavery pay rates and minority groups being vastly over-represented within the prison population. Maryland is no different.
According to reports released by Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services over the last few years, juvenile detention rates in the State have declined overall. This is great news: fewer children behind bars is indicative of positive social change, and positive effects on tackling youth crime.
However, in that time, the proportion of Black children behind bars has remained high, to the point where they are hugely over-represented; making up 77% of the juvenile detention population, despite the State population being less than 40% black.
We can ask ourselves if this is also part of a wider issue that Black Lives Matter and related activist groups have recently brought to the fore: of system racism within the US policing system. When we consider that 90% of Maryland’s juvenile detainees are referred by the police, these questions become burning, and on the local level.
Remember Youth Fund seeks to work with programmes in the Baltimore area to actively combat early causes of youth crime. We believe that through arts, sports and educational programmes, youths can gain the sense of citizenship, purpose and belonging to lead them away from a life of crime towards being thriving members of the community. See our About and Donation pages for more.