Baltimore will no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, and other misdemeanors

Mosby made the announcement Friday after his office’s year-long experiment not to prosecute misdemeanors to slow the spread of Covid-19 behind bars.

“Today, America’s war on drug users has ended in Baltimore City. We left behind the era of harsh crime prosecution and zero-tolerance policing and are no longer in the status quo to primarily criminalize people of color from addiction, “he said. Mosby in an official press release.

The experiment, known as The Covid Criminal Justice Policies, is an approach to crime developed with public health authorities. Rather than prosecute people arrested for petty crimes like prostitution and public urination, the program treated those crimes as public health problems and works with community partners to help find solutions.

The program has led to a decline in Baltimore’s overall incarcerated population by 18%, while violent and property crime have dropped 20% and 36% respectively, according to the press release.

Mosby said his office will no longer prosecute the following crimes: possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, prostitution, burglary, petty traffic violation, open container violations and public urination and defecation.

Mosby said he intends to refocus law enforcement on more serious crimes that plague the city and have contributed to its violent reputation.

“When the courts open next month, I want my prosecutors to work with the police and focus on violent crimes, such as armed robbery, auto theft cases and drug distribution organizations that are the most vulnerable point of violence. In Baltimore, they don’t use valuable jury trial time on those addiction cases, “Mosby said.

Dante Barksdale, who worked for more than a decade to keep Baltimore's streets safe from gun violence, is shot and killed
His decision was supported by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. But Republican state Senator Robert Cassilly told CNN affiliate WBFF that while he supports the prosecution’s judgment, Mosby’s decision is closer to signing the law than to enforcing it.

“Prosecutors are sworn to uphold the constitution in the state of Maryland and the constitution says the general assembly sets policy, not prosecutors,” Cassilly told the station. “I respect all the discretion of the prosecution. That is not the discretion of the prosecution, it is an exercise in legislating. That is what the legislature is supposed to do.”

Mosby said the state attorney’s office is also working with the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI), a crisis center that deals with mental health and substance abuse issues, to offer services in instead of arresting people who commit these minor crimes.

“Instead of arrest and prosecution, BCRI will connect people with services in areas such as mental health, housing and substance use,” according to the press release.

Mosby’s office, along with the Baltimore police and BCRI, will work to support sex workers by partnering with local organizations such as SPARC, a women’s center in Southwest Baltimore, Baltimore Safe Haven, and the Baltimore chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach. Project.


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