developing questions for panelists, and promoted participation in their respective communities. Each 90-minute forum featured a moderator
who presented questions to the
panelists. Registered attendees submitted additional questions for the panelists by using a Q & A feature on the Zoom webinar platform. During each forum, the audience also received relevant resource information and links to helpful websites. “The purpose of the forums is to increase awareness about the role of the Judiciary, its services and programs. Our goal is also to understand the community’s concerns and the ways in which the courts can provide better service,” said Judge Vicki Ballou- Watts, Circuit Court for Baltimore County, and Community Outreach Subcommittee Chair. At the conclusion of each forum, registered attendees received a survey with a request to provide feedback about the forum, the topic and any related matters. On July 15, the first community forum was held in Montgomery County. The topic was juvenile justice and featured Circuit Court for Montgomery County judges Bibi Berry and Karla Smith as well as Reverend Timothy B. Warner, and justice partner representatives from the local state’s attorney, public defender and Department of Juvenile Services offices. The panelists discussed some of the challenges that exist when juveniles are charged, placed on probation, or committed to a juvenile facility. They also addressed concerns regarding differences in treatment for minority youth in juvenile delinquency cases. In addition, the panelists described community-based programs and services available to youth, including diversion programs that allow a juvenile to avoid formal charges. Monica McQueen, president of Conversations That Matter, served as moderator. The Racial Justice Coalition, an umbrella of Montgomery County-based churches, and Conversations That Matter served as the community partners. On October 28, the EJC’s Community Outreach Subcommittee hosted a Baltimore County forum on “Sentencing Alternatives for Defendants with Significant Drug and/ or Alcohol Disorders.” The Baltimore County Alumnae Chapter (BCAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Morning Star Baptist Church served as community partners with BCAC President Monique Cephas and Bishop Dwayne Debnam participating on behalf of their respective organizations. Attorney Kimberly Robinson moderated the panel discussion which focused on the connection between drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health issues, and the criminal justice system. Judges and justice partners participate in Baltimore County forum in fall 2021.
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