In a move to reform Baltimore’s criminal justice system, Maryland state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby has announced a new program that will give low-level offenders milder sentences in the hopes of reducing both the number of repeat offenders and the city’s unemployment rate.
Last month, Mosby unveiled Aim to B’More, which is modeled off of a similar program in California. Through the “Probation Before Judgment” program, non-violent first-time felony drug offenders will be able circumvent sentencing as long as they volunteer somewhere related to their long-term career goals, obtain their GED or associate’s degree and obtain a full-time job or internship. The probation period lasts three years.
“I promised the voters that I would run a transparent, engaged and innovative office,” Mosby told a Baltimore NBC affiliate. “I’ve seen this program work, and I’ve talked with [California] Attorney General [Kamala] Harris and her team about how to make it a success. I’m excited that we’ve been able to get this program off the ground so quickly. Aim to B’more will change lives.”
Mosby built the program in collaboration with Deborah Spector, deputy director of crime control and prevention. Spector said that the program will give those offenders a second chance and an opportunity to turn their lives around. Through community engagement, Aim to B’more is also expected to reduce the city’s unemployment rate, which hovers around 8 percent—almost three percent more than the national average.
“Baltimore needs this program,” Mosby said. “By offering nonviolent, first-time felony offenders the opportunity to get an education and establish a career, we are affording them the opportunity to be more.”