State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby today announced she will make permanent a temporary change that her office announced last year:
Baltimore will continue to decline to prosecute all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment.
“What we learned in that year, and it’s so incredibly exciting, is there’s no public safety value in prosecuting these low-level offenses,” she told The Washington Post, which published her remarks this morning.
“These low-level offenses were being and have been discriminately enforced against Black and Brown people,” Mosby told the Post’s Tom Jackman.
Mosby told the newspaper her announcement was unrelated to the fact that she and her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, are under federal criminal investigation.
The probe was confirmed last Friday when subpoenas surfaced seeking documents relating to the couple’s campaign and personal finances and side business activities.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in the Post article that while police curtailed arrests for these cases, crime rates declined as well.
“As a practitioner, as an academic, I can say there’s a correlation between the fact that we stopped making these arrests and crime did not go up,” Harrison said.
As part of the announcement, Mosby’s office said it will be partnering with three groups that provide services to sex workers as well as with Baltimore Crisis Response, a private nonprofit group that provides services to people with mental health and substance use disorders.