Law school helps Baltimore City state’s attorney’s office with summer criminal justice program for middle schoolers

Spector, Mosby, GreenThe University of Baltimore School of Law will help the Baltimore Office of the State’s Attorney with a new summer program designed to introduce middle-school students to the criminal justice profession. Assistant Dean Jill Green (above, second from right) is in charge of the law school’s effort.

The six-week Baltimore City Junior State’s Attorney Program, announced last month by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (above, third from right), will involve 30 rising eighth graders from 10 Baltimore middle schools.

“We want to provide our children with a positive, hands-on opportunity to learn about criminal justice issues,” Mosby told The Baltimore Sun. “The goal is to expose them to the profession of the criminal justice system, not make them a part of it.”

Program leader Deborah Spector, J.D. ʽ91, deputy director of Crime Control and Prevention at the state’s attorney’s office (above, fourth from right), said she had researched similar initiatives nationwide and sought to model the Baltimore program after one run by New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Also pictured above are middle schoolers at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary/Middle School and (at right) police Lt. Col. Melvin Russell.

The participating Baltimore middle schools — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harlem Park, Edgecombe Circle, Tench Tilghman, Cherry Hill, Bay Brook, William Pinderhughes, Highlandtown, Collington Square and Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson – will nominate students who are particularly interested in civics and government, Spector said, adding that the program aimed to promote “confidence and faith” in the criminal justice system.

The students will submit essays describing their interest in the program to the state’s attorney’s office.

Program participants will visit the Baltimore City Police Department; the mayor’s office; City Hall; federal, district and circuit courts; and fire stations, among other institutions. They will also meet with judges, sheriffs, community leaders, law professors, law school students, assistant state’s attorneys and assistant public defenders.

The UB School of Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA) will work with the middle school students to prepare for a mock trial that will cap the summer program, which begins July 7 and ends Aug. 13 and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The final two weeks of the program will be based at the University of Baltimore’s Angelos Law Center.

The state’s attorney’s office will do informal pre- and post-program civics surveys to assess the children’s progress. Students also will take part in 10 follow-up Saturday-morning meetings during the school year.

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