State’s Lawyer Marilyn Mosby has introduced that her workplace will cease prosecuting drug possession, prostitution, trespassing, and different low-level offenses based mostly on the success of insurance policies enacted final yr to sluggish the unfold of Covid-19 in jails and prisons.
After the prosecutor’s workplace introduced final March that they might not prosecute these minor expenses throughout the pandemic, crime charges dropped in Baltimore. The State’s Lawyer’s workplace reported that violent crime fell 20% and property crime declined 36% between March 13, 2020, and March 13, 2021. And there have been 13 fewer homicides than throughout the earlier yr.
The variety of individuals incarcerated in Baltimore Metropolis declined 18% throughout the identical interval, and 39% fewer individuals entered the prison justice system in comparison with this time final yr as prosecutors dismissed 1,423 pending circumstances and quashed 1,415 warrants for low-level offenses.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being who examined the impression of the non-prosecution coverage on public security discovered that 911 calls about drug use, public intoxication, and intercourse work declined from March to December 2020. Calls mentioning medication fell by 33% and calls about intercourse work fell by 50% in comparison with the prior two years.
And solely 5 of the practically 1,500 individuals whose warrants had been quashed or expenses dismissed had been arrested for every other crime throughout this similar interval, the researchers discovered.
The info present “there’s no public security worth in prosecuting these low-level offenses,” Ms. Mosby said in an interview.
The choice to not prosecute drug and minor nonviolent offenses led to modifications in policing. Ms. Mosby told reporters that there have been 80% fewer arrests for drug possession in Baltimore prior to now yr.
“At this time, America’s struggle on drug customers is over within the metropolis of Baltimore,” Ms. Mosby said in a press release. “We go away behind the period of tough-on-crime prosecution and nil tolerance policing and now not default to the established order to criminalize largely individuals of colour for habit.”
The State’s Lawyer’s workplace stated it’s partnering with the Baltimore Police Division, Baltimore Disaster Response Inc., and different group organizations to scale back pointless contact with regulation enforcement for low-level offenses.
The town is working to arrange a 911 different dispatch that can route calls about behavioral well being points to BCRI, which might ship a cellular disaster staff with a psychological well being skilled and a registered nurse to the scene or instantly refer individuals to companies for psychological well being, housing, and substance use points. The prosecutor’s workplace can also be collaborating with group teams that provide companies and help for intercourse employees.
Police commissioner Michael Harrison enthusiastically helps this partnership. Social employees are “higher suited to take care of these points,” he said.
Kobi Little, head of the Baltimore NAACP, said the state’s legal professional’s pandemic insurance policies had led to “decreased policing and incarceration of Black individuals, elevated entry to disaster companies” and “discount in violent crime.” He applauded the choice to make them everlasting.
“It’s time to reimagine policing on this nation. It hasn’t labored,” Ms. Mosby stated, noting that 13% of the American inhabitants is Black, however 35% of these incarcerated for drug violations are Black. As a prosecutor, “our mission is justice over convictions. You need to perceive the significance of rectifying the wrongs of the previous.”