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Juvenile Felony Offenses


The rate of referrals to the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), per 100,000 youth ages 10-17, for felony offenses, including both violent and non-violent charges.*


Rate of Referrals to DJS Per 100,000 Youth Ages 10-17, for Felony Offenses (Violent and Non-violent) by Fiscal Year, Maryland
Age Group 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
10-14 786 868 766 736 644 460 393 383 374 359
15-17 3204 3552 3344 3640 3439 2479 2042 1852 1564 1560
10-17 1709 1917 1787 1886 1742 1248 1027 942 825 814


Story Behind the Data:

After fluctuating around 3,500 per 100,000 from FY2001 through FY2008, the juvenile referral rate for felony offenses sharply declined between FY2009 and FY2014, with FY2014 showing the lowest rates of all fiscal years reported.  Overall, between FY2001 and FY2014, the referral rate for felony offenses dropped by 52%, from 1,700 per 100,000 to 814 per 100,000 for ages 10-17.  During this time, violent offense referrals dropped by 31%, from 615 to 427 per 100,000 population, and non-violent felony referrals were reduced by 64%, from 1,073 per 100,000 in FY 2001 to 387 per 100,000 in FY2014.

Since FY2009, overall referrals have been declining nationwide, and Maryland mirrors that trend.  There are many theories that have been suggested to explain the decline – from removal of environmental lead, to changes in policing strategies, to policy changes, including the Maryland Violence Prevention Initiative.  At this point, DJS is continuing to evaluate the data to determine the best possible explanation.

Additional Information:


*This selection is based on the Maryland Sentencing Commission which utilizes the definition of ”crime of violence” found in the Md. Code, Correctional Services Article, § 7-101(m) which defines violent crime as a crime of violence as defined in §14-101 of the Criminal Law Article, or burglary in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree.  Md. Code, Criminal Law Art., §14-401 lists violent offenses as:  murder; manslaughter, except involuntary manslaughter; forcible rape; first degree sex offense; second degree sex offense with force or threat; robbery; use of a hand gun in the commission of a felony or other crime of violence; child abuse; carjacking; aggravated assault; and arson – first degree.  Non-violent felony offenses include breaking and entering, theft, motor vehicle theft, controlled dangerous substance (CDS) distribution and manufacturing, assault on police officer, third degree sex offense with or without force, arson – second degree, destructive devices and conspiracy to commit any felony offense.