[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; 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.

[photo, Prince George's County Courthouse, Duvall Wing, Upper Marlboro, Maryland] 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.

[photo, Metropolitan Transition Center (formerly Maryland Penitentiary), from lower Forrest St., Baltimore, Maryland] 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 24 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 2014, Maryland's average daily inmate population was 20,998. The average length of stay was approximately 73 months at an annual cost of some $38,000.

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 2014, Maryland Correctional Enterprises employed 2,091 inmates and brought in $51.8 million.

Other programs allow the inmates to learn skills while helping the community. 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. Others built sidewalks or planted and harvested crops. Over one million pounds of food were grown or harvested by inmates.

Some inmates participate in animal-fostering programs. In Fiscal Year 2014, 19 inmates cared for 6 horses at the Second Chances Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. Through the Canine Parters for Life and other programs, inmates train dogs to become service animals for disabled individuals, while those working with Hounds of Prison Education and America's Vetdogs train dogs as pets or service animals for disabled veterans, respectively. There are several cats at the Maryland Correctional Training Center which provide the opportunity for inmates to care for them.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services gives inmates the opportunity to further their education. In Fiscal Year 2014, some 5,818 inmates enrolled in academic classes, 1,960 in occupational skills classes, and 990 in vocational classes. Nearly 500 prisoners received their high school equivalency degrees, while 70 more received college credits through Goucher College.

[photo, Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, 300 North Gay St., Baltimore, Maryland] 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 January 2014, some 22 individuals under age 18 were inmates in a State correctional facility for adult offenders. Although the average inmate age was 36.9, in 2014, the Division of Correction held 54 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.

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