The Maryland Senate confirmed Gov. Wes Moore’s juvenile services pick on Tuesday, after Republican leaders twice stalled votes on the criminal justice reformer’s nomination.

Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Vincent Schiraldi received 33 votes affirming his appointment, all from Democrats and after members on both sides spoke to defend their votes.

The progressive policy researcher takes the helm one year after the legislature passed broad juvenile justice reforms and months after voters elected a governor who wants to revamp the juvenile justice system.

Schiraldi, who is credited with transforming D.C.’s broken juvenile system into a national model, favors implementing evidence-based strategies to rehabilitate struggling youth. He supports abolishing youth prisons and banning solitary confinement. And when children in the most severe cases must be detained, he supports clean, safe, home-like settings that are closer to their families.

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But Senate Republicans, who are outnumbered nearly 3-to-1, made it clear during floor speeches that the secretary’s philosophies didn’t align with theirs. All 13 GOP senators voted against Schiraldi.

Senate Minority Whip Justin Ready, representing Carroll County, defended his no vote by saying the state needs to strike a balance between accountability and providing services.

“It’s all carrots and no sticks,” Ready said. “What about the victims of crime? What about the communities that have been ravaged?”

He said Schiraldi’s policies lacked accountability for children and would continue the state’s failed juvenile justice policies, which he believes have contributed to a spike in violent juvenile crime.

“I will be voting no because I believe we have to send a message; we have to get serious about what’s happening on crime, especially when dealing with juveniles in the state,” Ready said.

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Schiraldi declined to comment.

The juvenile system’s policies that established more community-based support services for troubled youth were implemented by members of former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s Cabinet.

Sen. Will C. Smith Jr. of Montgomery County, defending the state reforms and Schiraldi, reminded the chamber that change takes time.

“I’m really tremendously proud of the reforms we’ve done in the last couple of years and a lot of reforms won’t bear immediate political fruit, right,” said Smith, chair of the committee that hears criminal justice matters. “So it takes time for change to happen systemically.”

Smith praised Schiraldi as “a blend of both vision and technocratic skill.” He also laid out the high stakes before the new secretary.

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“The success of the reforms that we’re looking at in committee right now depend on this secretary performing and performing at a high level,” Smith said.

Sen. C. Anthony Muse shared his own experience with the juvenile justice system.

“I was one of those kids. I did have wraparound services,” the Prince George’s County Democrat said. “Had I had one day in prison, I’m sure that’s the way I would have gone.”

The outnumbered Republican senators, led by Senate Minority Leader Stephen Hershey Jr., had pulled all available levers to slow Schiraldi’s confirmation.

Leading up to Tuesday’s confirmation vote, Hershey twice singled out Schiraldi, once in the nominations committee, where Republicans voted against Schiraldi’s advancement, and before Friday’s floor vote.

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“We have responsibility to advise and consent, whether it’s a Cabinet secretary or whether it’s legislation,” Hershey said.

In reviewing Schiraldi’s policies, Hershey on Monday said his caucus had decided they were “extreme.”

“We want to be on record that we’re not accepting of those policies,” Hershey told The Banner. “And that maybe there is an opportunity that he [Schiraldi] hears us and the governor hears us as well.”

In a news conference after Tuesday’s floor session, Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore City Democrat, commended Moore’s Cabinet selections so far as “a very impressive cohort of leaders.” However, he said the partisan floor debate on Schiraldi, the last of the cohort to be confirmed to date, revealed a sign of things to come.

“Now we shift from having to confirm them to holding them accountable to meeting the potential that they offer.”