Baltimore is taking a new measure in approaching criminal justice reform. Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that the city will no longer be prosecuting low-level offenses including drug possession, prostitution, and trespassing. The announcement arrives after the success of a trial program of the Covid Criminal Justice policies that was created in order to “reimagine public safety” and the justice system at large.
Attorney Mosby explained that the Covid Criminal Justice policies have “resulted in a decrease in arrests, no adverse impact on the crime rate, and address the systemic inequity of mass incarceration,” per a press release. The success of the project that was launched has prompted officials to prioritize a permanent adoption of these policies.
“Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction. We will develop sustainable solutions and allow our public health partners to do their part to address mental health and substance use disorder,” State’s Attorney Mosby said in a statement.
Covid Criminal Justice policies began as an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons. Through the advice of public health experts, the program has helped decrease the incarceration rate by 18% in Baltimore while data also shows that there’s been a 39% decrease in people entering the system. Meanwhile, Baltimore City has witnessed a 20% decline in violent crimes in comparison and a 36% decline in property crime between March 13th, 2020 and March 13th, 2021.
Below is a list of low-level offenses that will no longer be prosecuted.
- CDS (drug) possession
- Attempted distribution CDS
- Paraphernalia possession
- Minor traffic offenses
- Open container
- Rogue and vagabond
- Urinating/defecating in public