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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
“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.