Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that the city will no longer prosecute residents for prostitution, drug possession or other low-level offenses in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in correctional facilities.
The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office began working with public health experts one year ago to adopt an approach to slow the spread of COVID-19 in city prisons. Mosby’s office decided to stop prosecuting offenses including CDS (drug) possession, trespassing, minor traffic offenses, urinating/defecating in public, open container, and a number of other offenses.
According to Mosby, the results of the experiment have been successful and will remain intact. The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services says data shows Baltimore City’s incarceration population is down by 18 percent, and the number of people entering the justice system compared to this time last year is down by 39 percent.
“Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore,” Mosby said in a statement. “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.”
Reimagining public safety in Baltimore requires innovation and collaborative effort,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott. “I applaud State’s Attorney Mosby’s office for working with partners to stem violence in Baltimore and ensure residents have the adequate support services they deserve.”