FAQs | Understanding the System
We hope these answers to frequently asked questions are helpful. If you have any questions, please call the Youthful Defendant Unit at 410 223 3748.
My son or daughter was arrested and charged as an adult. Where is my son or daughter being held?
All adults arrested in Baltimore City, including children charged as adults, are processed through the Central Booking and Intake Facility at 300 East Madison Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Central Booking is located a few blocks north of downtown Baltimore. Each person is first “booked”, which includes being fingerprinted and photographed. After processing, men and women under the age of 18 are taken next door to the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) located at 401 East Eager Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, which includes both a men’s detention center and a women’s detention center. The main number for Central Booking is 410 545 8122. The Baltimore City Detention Center main number is 410 209 4001. The Office of the Public Defender’s staff at Central Booking can be reached directly at 410 209 4437.
Maryland law does not currently require that inmates under the age of 18 be kept separate from inmates over the age of 18. However, BCDC does provide a separate housing areas for male juveniles. Currently, male juveniles are housed in a special section of the Women's Detention Center. Some young men are also kept in other areas of the jail in segregation or protective custody or held at a state prison hospital located nearby if in need of medical care. Juvenile women are housed in a special section of the Women’s Detention Center. We make every effort to keep this information up-to-date, but BCDC may change the locations where detainees are held. Keep in touch with your child’s lawyer for more detailed information about the conditions of confinement for juveniles charged as adults.
If my child is arrested, are the police required to notify me?
Yes, starting on October 1, 2012, a police officer is required by Maryland law to make a reasonable effort to contact the parent or guardian of a child who is arrested and charged as an adult.
The police questioned my child when I was not present. Can they do that?
Yes. Police officers are not required to allow parents or other family members to attend an interview with a child. If you learn that your child is being questioned by the police, let the arresting officers know that you want to be present and call the Office of the Public Defender or an attorney in private practice immediately to discuss representation for your child.
How can I get my child out of jail?
It is important that the attorney representing your child at the bail review hearing has information to present to the court to show why your child should be released. Call the Office of the Public Defender at Central Booking at 410 209 4437 or your child’s attorney for more information about the bail review process.
If the court sets a bail, your child will be released if that bail is posted. The Office of the Public Defender cannot made recommendations about bail bond companies. Remember that if your child makes bail, the child may remain in custody if your child has other pending cases or warrants, including juvenile cases.
Can I send my son or daughter money in jail?
Yes. You may send a money order to your child at the Baltimore City Detention Center, 401 East Eager Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Include your child’s name and inmate identification number (often called an “SID” number or state identification number.)
My child saw a court commissioner who set a bail. What’s the difference between a commissioner hearing and a bail review?
A commissioner is a judicial officer who notifies defendants about the charges against them and sets a bail for most types of cases (for some serious cases, only a judge may set a bail.) If you are held beyond the commissioner hearing, you will see a judge for bail review the next business day. Bail review hearings in Baltimore City are held Monday through Friday in a special courtroom at Central Booking. Hearings are held at various times throughout the day; contact your child’s attorney or the Office of the Public Defender’s Central Booking office at 410 209 4437 for the exact time of your child’s hearing.
How do I make sure my son or daughter has a lawyer?
The Office of the Public Defender provides representation in criminal cases for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. If your child is charged as an adult in Baltimore City, call YDU at 410 223 3748 or contact our office at Central Booking at 410 209 4437.
My child does not want his lawyer to speak with me about the case. Isn’t it my right to know what’s going on?
A lawyer’s role is to represent a client and respect that client’s wishes, regardless if the client is a child or an adult. The same is true regardless of who hired the lawyer or the age of the person charged. Attorneys from the Office of the Public Defender work for their clients, even if the client’s wishes are not the same as those of the client’s family.
Will my child attend school while incarcerated at BCDC?
Yes. Eager Street Academy is a public school located within the Baltimore City Detention Center and operated by the Baltimore City public school system. All children under the age of 18 who are detained at BCDC attend Eager Street, with the exception of some children who are held in segregation or protective custody. Eager Street Academy does not serve inmates who are over the age of 18. The staff of Eager Street Academy can be reached at 410 209 4091. The Office of the Public Defender urges parents and guardians to contact Eager Street to discuss a child’s schooling. If your child has any special academic issues or has an Individualized Education Plan(often called an “IEP”), please call Eager Street to make sure your child’s need are met.