Maryland's criminal justice system involves the Judiciary with its Court of Appeals, Court of Special Appeals, Circuit Courts, and the District Court of Maryland; law enforcement agencies, including the Department of State Police, and local public safety and police departments; and agencies concerned with detention and imprisonment, such as the
Department of Juvenile Services, and the
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building, 361 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland, March 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In addition, the General Assembly addresses concerns about criminal law through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
Prince George's County Courthouse, Duvall Wing, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, April 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Persons convicted of a crime in Maryland may be sentenced to imprisonment in a State correctional facility. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services operates 26 correctional facilites, as well as the Patuxent Institution (providing specialized treatment), the Central Booking and Intake Center, and the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Metropolitan Transition Center (formerly Maryland Penitentiary), view from lower Forrest St., Baltimore, Maryland, January 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
According to the Division of Correction, in Fiscal Year 2012, Maryland's average daily inmate population was 22,930. The average length of stay was approximately 71 months at an annual cost of $35,151.
The State also administers programs which are sentencing alternatives to imprisonment. These include boot camp, home detention, intensive supervision, and day reporting.
Maryland Correctional Enterprises is a financially self-supporting State agency that provides structured employment and training for offenders in order to reduce prison idleness and improve the employability of prisoners when they are discharged. In Fiscal Year 2013, Maryland Correctional Enterprises employed 2,038 inmates.
Persons under age 18 who are charged with a crime generally are within the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system. Maryland's juvenile justice system is the responsibility of the Department of Juvenile Services. The Department provides care and treatment for youths who have broken the law or who are adjudicated a danger to themselves or others. For young offenders, the least restrictive setting is preferred, but for serious and chronic offenders, secure institutional detention is a viable sentencing option.
Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, 300 North Gay St., Baltimore, Maryland, June 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
For certain crimes, youths may be tried and sentenced as adults. As of June 2006, some 56 individuals under age 18 were inmates in a State correctional facility for adult offenders. Although the average inmate age was 35.6, in 2006, the Division of Correction held 143 eighteen-year olds in custody.
In Maryland, victims of crimes are offered a range of services throughout the criminal justice process. Notification on the status of cases in criminal court, pretrial conferences, court accompaniment, and crisis intervention are provided in most counties by the State's Attorney's Office. Within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, victims services units provide information about the detention and release of offenders and their whereabouts. They also advise victims how to obtain financial compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
For victims of juvenile crimes, the Department of Juvenile Services provides direct assistance. It also considers their emotional, physical and financial needs when resolving cases. Often, young offenders are required to reimburse the victim directly for losses resulting from their delinquent acts.
© Copyright May 01, 2014 Maryland State Archives
Maryland Manual On-Line, 2015
July 1, 2015
Note: In this past edition of Maryland Manual, some links are to external sites.
View the current Manual