Maryland House and Senate pass different versions of juvenile crime plan. Now what?

The Democrat-controlled Maryland legislature is pushing ahead with feeble juvenile crime legislation that fails to hold young offenders accountable, despite it being branded a top priority this session. After the House and Senate passed their own watered-down versions, the real fight now begins over what toothless final plan will emerge.

The Senate bill treats kids aged 10-12 caught stealing cars through the kid-glove “child in need of supervision” process rather than the criminal justice system. Incredibly, the House version is even worse – diverting first-time young car thieves into a program completely avoiding charges.

Senate Republican Leader Steve Hershey criticized the half-measures as “certainly not a leap” and inadequate for public safety. But Democrats like Sen. Jill Carter outrageously dismissed juvenile crime as mere “perception” rather than the reality ravaging communities.

Prosecutors and police across Maryland have pleaded for tougher accountability for juvenile criminals, but Democrats would rather coddle them than protect victims and uphold law and order.

As negotiations begin to mesh the two permissive bills, conservatives must demand real reform with teeth rather than the simple “programming” that recycled young thugs through a revolving door.

The final plan can’t be a slap on the wrist that invites further mayhem on our streets. Anything short of serious consequences and deterrence for juvenile lawbreakers is an abject failure by Democrats that threatens public safety. Voters must hold them accountable in turn.