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People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland to take on laws that police use to target people of color and people with low incomes

July 21, 2020

We’re proud to be part of the new People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland. The Commission was created to reduce the disparate impact of the justice system on youth and adults who have been historically targeted and marginalized by local and state criminal and juvenile laws on the basis of their race, gender, disability, or socio-economic status. Bringing together people with direct lived experiences, anti-poverty advocates, harm reduction activists, Black Lives Matter activists, LBGTQ advocates, and others, the Commission will be examining Maryland laws to understand and disrupt the ways in which Maryland’s criminal laws reinforce structural racism and inequality. The Commission’s initial findings will be presented in a public report in time for Maryland’s next legislative session.

Through advocacy, we aim to dramatically reduce unnecessary contacts with the criminal justice system, such as unjust arrests, prosecutions, convictions, incarceration and collateral consequences that are based on personal identity, physical location, and socio-economic status. We hope to shift the narrative about public safety to focus on public health and to encourage the justice system to use alternative intervention and response strategies that address issues of public safety and social justice through an anti-racism lens.

To learn about the Commission’s next steps, including regional listening sessions, join us for a webinar on July 29 from 3-5 pm.