MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

CRIMINAL JUSTICE


[photo, Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building, 361 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland] 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. Also included are agencies concerned with detention and imprisonment, such as the Department of Juvenile Services, and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, local departments of corrections, and detention centers.

Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Building, 361 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, Maryland, March 2009. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Prince George's County Courthouse, Duvall Wing, Upper Marlboro, Maryland] Concerns about criminal law are addressed by the General Assembly through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and certain joint legislative committees.


Prince George's County Courthouse, Duvall Wing, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, April 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Courtroom no. 1, Caroline County Courthouse, 109 Market St., Denton, Maryland] Persons convicted of a crime in Maryland may be sentenced to imprisonment in a State prison, or a local department of corrections. Typically, such local departments, detention centers, or jails hold prisoners sentenced for shorter periods of time and for lesser offenses than those held in State prisons.

Courtroom no. 1, Caroline County Courthouse, 109 Market St., Denton, Maryland, August 2016. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


[photo, Metropolitan Transition Center (formerly Maryland Penitentiary), from lower Forrest St., Baltimore, Maryland] The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services operates 24 correctional facilites, as well as the Patuxent Institution (providing specialized treatment), the Central Booking and Intake Center, and the Baltimore Pretrial Complex.

According to the Division of Correction, in Fiscal Year 2015, Maryland's average daily inmate population was 20,602. The average length of stay was 76.9 months at an annual cost of $38,360.

Metropolitan Transition Center (formerly Maryland Penitentiary), view from lower Forrest St., Baltimore, Maryland, January 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


The State also administers programs which are sentencing alternatives to imprisonment. These include boot camp, home detention, intensive supervision, and day reporting.

Rehabilitation. In order to reduce prison idleness and improve the employability of prisoners when they are discharged, Maryland Correctional Enterprises, a financially self-supporting State agency, provides structured employment and training for offenders. In Fiscal Year 2015, Maryland Correctional Enterprises employed 2,041 inmates and had a revenue of $54 million.

Other programs allow prisoners to learn skills while helping the community. Some inmates tend gardens inside prison walls and donate the produce to the poor, while others harvest crops for the Farm to Food Bank Program of the Maryland Food Bank. In Fiscal Year 2014, about 120 inmates helped with the deconstruction of the Maryland House of Corrections, after they received training in the abatement of hazardous materials.

Throughout Maryland, some prisoners work with animals in various programs. Inmates learn how to care for rescued and retired race horses at the Second Chances Farm at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville, a Public Safety Works program which began in 2008. Through the Canine Partners for Life, prisoners train dogs to become service animals for disabled individuals, while those working with America's Vetdogs train puppies to become service dogs for wounded veterans.

Field Support Services at the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services gives inmates the opportunity to further their education. In Fiscal Year 2015, some 6,672 prisoners enrolled in academic classes, 2,169 for occupational skills, and 4,902 in transitional programs. Also, 220 prisoners received their high school equivalency degrees, while 308 more received college credits through Goucher College.


[photo, Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, 300 North Gay St., Baltimore, Maryland] Juvenile Offenders. Persons under age 18 who are charged with a crime generally fall under 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 January 2015, there were 5 individuals under age 18 who were inmates in a State correctional facility for adult offenders. Although the average inmate age was 37.2, in 2015, the Division of Correction held 46 eighteen-year olds in custody within prisons for adults.

Victims of Crime. 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 County State's Attorney's Office, or in Baltimore City, the City State's Attorney's Office (see local law offices). 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. Also, the Victim Services Program is overseen by the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

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.

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