Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced that low-level crimes will no longer be criminalized, which include possession of drug paraphernalia, prostitution, open container violations and trespassing.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, law enforcement agencies worked with health professionals to create the ‘The Covid Criminal Justice Policies’ experiment, which stopped the criminalization of minor offenses in order to reduce the spread of the Covid virus in prisons. As a result, they found that a year later there was a 20% reduction in violent crimes and a 26% reduction in property crimes in the city of Baltimore. Over a year, there was a 20% decrease in the population of incarcerated people in prisons.
Mosby states there will no longer be a tough-on-crime approach and zero tolerance policing in the city of Baltimore, which she believes targets people of colour who are struggling with addiction and mental health problems. Rather than being charged and face imprisonment for these offenses, they will be offered support services for substance abuse and mental health issues at the Baltimore Crisis Response centre. Mosby’s decision has been supported by the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore NAACP.