Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free College Tuition for Juvenile Offenders?

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would grant free college tuition for some juvenile offenders. Supporters say it's a way to encourage troubled youth to get their lives back on track. John Dixon, Deputy Secretary for the MD Department of Juvenile Services says, "The kids the department serves face a lot of obstacles and challenges when they return to the community. This bill will allow kids who are interested in attending public institution to go there tuition free."

Delegate Norm Conway is sponsoring the bill. As an educator for 39 years, he says it's important to help troubled teens make a positive transition. "They're out of their own families in many instances. You're hoping for the best possible transition and incentives that say hey if you're willing to do your part there are some opportunities out there for you."

Under the proposal, committed juveniles under the age of 21 would be eligible for free tuition at any public institution in the state. If the measure is approved, about 450 kids who are in group homes, youth centers, and residential treatment homes would be eligible for the program each year.

Critics argue taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the mistakes of juvenile offenders. But supporters say it could cost taxpayers more in the long run if something isn't done now. Dixon says, "Without having opportunities for these kids such as this, we'll be paying for a career in the adult criminal justice system. And this is very small in comparison to give these kids an opportunity to learn some skills and become a productive member of the job market."

Instead of executing Tookie Willaims, maybe we should have just given him a million dollars to be nice. Morons!

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