The Juvenile Division is responsible for handling cases involve people under the age 18 who are charged with a criminal matter. The Division works closely with the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), and the public to ensure that juvenile offenders are held accountable for their actions and are provided rehabilitative measures to prevent future criminal behaviors.
The goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, not incarceration. Such rehabilitative efforts are accomplished through diversion, probation or commitment to DJS. Youth may be committed either to a facility or in their home with wrap-around services. In either case, a commitment is seen as a more stringent measure to effectuate services.
The Juvenile Division, located in the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, is led by a Division Chief, a Deputy Chief, a Team Captain, and staffed by 15 Assistant State’s Attorneys, 3 law clerks, 5 full-time support staff, 4 victim advocates, a Community Liaison, an Office Manager and two investigators. The Juvenile Team includes a designated High profile prosecutor, and a designated Sex Offense prosecutor. The Division handles everything from the Booking process, Arraignments, Adjudications, Detention reviews, Reviews of court orders, Waiver s and Transfer of Jurisdiction Hearings, Dispositions, extensive Post-dispositional hearings, Restitution hearings, Violation of Probation hearings and Permanency plan review. The Division functions in a system based on the tenants of rehabilitation, public safety and accountability.
Important Facts Regarding the Juvenile Justice System
- There are two ways a juvenile may enter the juvenile justice system, police arrest or a citizen complaint.
- Police cannot make a juvenile arrest for property damages under $1,000 if the officer does not see the act occur.
- The BCSAO cannot formally charge a juvenile without permission from the Department of Juvenile Services.
- Many complaints are solved out of court through diversion programs such as Teen Court, or Community Mediation.
- There are a few violent crimes, such as murder or rape in the first-degree that require automatic transfer to adult jurisdiction for youth above a certain age. In other cases, the BCSAO can file a waiver to transfer youth to adult jurisdiction, but the waiver must be approved by the Court.