While most people today probably do not believe oracle bones can tell the future, one of the important implications of oracle bones is that people in ancient China believed the world to be a logical and rational place– that the future was something that could be foretold by asking the heavens or studying patterns in nature. Are we still interested in foreseeing the future? How do we do it?
As depicted in Figure 3 below, the percent of formaled misdemeanor referrals in Baltimore City is consistently higher across all misdemeanor categories when compared to the rest of Maryland. The largest difference is for unspecified misdemeanors and drug misdemeanors. It is difficult to draw conclusions from the comparison for unspecified misdemeanor cases, as there was a very small number of these cases in Baltimore (18) as compared with a much larger number for the rest of state (352). However, the large difference in percent of formaled referrals in other misdemeanor categories raises significant questions about access to diversion across Maryland jurisdictions, particularly the large difference in formal processing rates for misdemeanor drug referrals. In Baltimore, 68% of misdemeanor drug cases were formaled, while only 27% of these cases were formaled in the rest on Maryland, a difference of 41%. Misdemeanor referrals present one of the best opportunities for early diversion. The fact that a significantly larger percentage of misdemeanors referrals are formaled in Baltimore City is cause for concern and deeper investigation. It is possible that many of the formaled misdemeanor referrals were deemed ineligible for diversion due to prior referrals or current status with DJS, among other possible reasons. If this is the case, stakeholders should consider specialized diversion pathways and services that would be appropriate for youth with prior referrals or who are currently under supervision. Also, because drug referrals seem to be a significant driver of different rates of formal handling between Baltimore City and the rest of Maryland, officials should consider whether resources targeted specifically to address substance use and involvement in the distribution of controlled substances would enhance diversion opportunities for this subset of cases. It is important to note that the analysis above does not compare rates of authorized formal petitions between Baltimore and the rest of the state for citations, ordinance violations, and children in need of services referrals. During FY 2018, Baltimore had very few of these kinds of referrals compared with the rest of the state. Due to the small number of cases in Baltimore City, a comparative analysis of case forwarding decisions for these referral types between Baltimore and the rest>GET ANSWER