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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 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
10-14 868 766 736 644 460 437 427 418 406 377
15-17 3552 3344 3640 3439 2490 2247 2047 1735 1740 1639
10-17 1917 1787 1886 1742 1250 1136 1047 920 915 859

Data Source: Data compiled by the Department of Juvenile Services

Story Behind the Data:

For age group 15 to 17, after fluctuating around 3,500 per 100,000 from FY2005 through FY2009, the juvenile referral rate for felony offenses sharply declined between FY2010 and FY2015, with FY2015 showing the lowest rate of all fiscal years reported.  Between FY2005 and FY2015, the referral rate for felony offenses dropped by 50% from 1,709 per 100,000 population to 859 per 100,000 youth for ages 10-17.  During this time, violent offense referrals dropped by 26%, from 582 to 430 per 100,000 for 10-17 years of age, and non-violent felony referrals were reduced by 62%, from 1,128 per 100,000 in FY 2005 to 429 per 100,000 in FY2015.

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.


*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.