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Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;
This report is the product of the Reducing Violence, Building Trust: Data to Guide Gun Law Enforcement in Baltimore project. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research (JHCGPR) collected and analyzed data relevant to the enforcement of laws restricting the possession of firearms by prohibited individuals and unlawful carrying of concealed firearms to provide data-driven recommendations for more fair and effective practices. The project was designed to help inform the response to the dual crises in Baltimore—extraordinarily high rates of gun violence, and gun law enforcement practices that, in some cases, have violated the law and more generally weakened community members' trust in the police.
Justice Policy Institute;
Maryland leads the nation in incarcerating young Black men, sentenced to the longest prison terms, at a rate 25% higher than the next nearest state — Mississippi. State has incarcerated the highest percentage of people who are Black in the country, more than twice the national average.Punitive sentencing policies and restrictive parole release practices in Maryland have resulted in a deeply racially disproportionate criminal justice system that is acutely impacting those serving the longest prison terms. This is true despite a declining prison population and state leadership in Maryland having undertaken criminal justice reform in recent years. As recently as July 2018, more than 70 percent of Maryland's prison population was black, compared to 31 percent of the state population. The latest data from the Department of Justice show that the proportion of the Maryland prison population that is black is more than double the national average of 32 percent. These disparities are rooted in decades of unbalanced policies that disproportionately over-police under-resourced communities of color, and a criminal justice system focused on punitive sentencing and parole practices.Disparity Most Pronounced Among Emerging Adults, Especially Those with Long SentencesRacial disparities persist despite the fact that the Maryland prison population has declined by 13 percent since 2014, resulting in nearly 2,700 fewer people incarcerated. These inequalities affect the entire population, but are most pronounced among those individuals who were incarcerated as emerging adults (18 to 24 years old) and are serving long prison terms. Nearly eight in 10 people who were sentenced as emerging adults and have served 10 or more years in a Maryland prison are black. This is the highest rate of any state in the country.To be Effective, Solutions Must Focus on the Emerging Adult PopulationTo reverse these racially disparate outcomes—the result of decades of failed policies—Maryland needs to rethink its approach to 18- to 24-year-olds and join a growing number of jurisdictions exploring reforms related to emerging adults. This policy brief will provide perspective on why this population is unique and reforms are critical to improving outcomes in the justice system. Going forward, Maryland's leadership can look toward examples of successful, evidence-based, and promising alternatives in other jurisdictions that can reduce the impact on emerging adults, racial disparities, and criminal justice involvement.What do we mean by "emerging adults"? The United States justice system is divided into two separate entities: the adult criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system. With the creation of the juvenile court in 1899, the vast majority of youth under the age of 18 are served in the juvenile system. But the choice of 18 as the cutoff age is arbitrary and subject to specific state statutes. For example, in four states, 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted and sentenced as an adult. However, most states have chosen 18 as the age of adulthood. Some states, such as New York and North Carolina, have recently taken steps to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18 years old.The reason this age threshold matters is because the juvenile justice system's underlying philosophy differs radically from that of the adult system. The juvenile justice system was explicitly developed as an alternative to the adult system, which is primarily focused on punishment. The juvenile system is based on an understanding that children have a less developed sense of right and wrong, reduced impulse control, and, as such, a different level of culpability for their actions. The juvenile system is not focused on absolving children of responsibility for their actions. However, it offers education, personal development, and rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Baltimore is the 30th-largest US city by population and is a study in contrasts. It has a low average income compared with other wealthy Northeast cities, has nine colleges and universities, and is a magnet for people pursuing higher education but has undergone decades of population loss. A large social sector provides important services to residents and buoys the local economy: nearly every third job in the city is with a nonprofit employer. But this also illustrates the city's limited economic vibrancy. This mix of market and nonmarket forces makes Baltimore an important place to examine the geography of opportunity in an American city.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice;
The Maryland Parole Commission (MPC) was created in 1976 to replace the Board of Parole, which had been established in 1968. The first Advisory Board of Parole was founded in 1914. Maryland has had advisory sentencing guidelines since 1983. A sentence pronounced under the guidelines represents the maximum time an offender may serve and the parole commission then determines when an inmate will be considered for release.
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research;
Baltimore has long been plagued by high rates of homicides, with guns playing an important role. City and law enforcement officials in Baltimore have attributed much of the gun violence to the illegal drug economy and the availability of guns for criminal use. For many years, the most visible and direct approaches employed by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to curb gun violence have focused on enforcement of drug laws to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trade. In the most ambitious and resource-intensive efforts, the objective of law enforcement actions has been to "take down" or severely weaken organized groups selling illegal drugs through targeted arrests and prosecutions. Such efforts are intended to both remove violent criminals from communities and, ideally, deter violent crime. Most of these targeted drug law enforcement efforts have been place-focused, targeting "hot spots" for homicides and shootings. Within these hot spots, there is often some degree of targeting of individuals believed to be important drivers of gun violence, based on intelligence gathered, individuals' histories of criminal offending, and individuals' criminal associates.In the early 2000s, Baltimore City leadership encouraged aggressive enforcement of drug laws, resulting in the arrests of tens of thousands of individuals for drug possession and drug distribution. However, beginning mid-2007, the BPD shifted its focus to initiatives aimed at apprehending violent criminals and targeting illegal gun possession. We used data from January 1, 2003, through December 23, 2017, to estimate the effects of place-focused policing and prevention initiatives that were focused on criminal offending involving guns and/or drugs to estimate the effects of those interventions on homicides and nonfatal shootings. An overview of the specific interventions assessed in this study follows.
Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
This report describes the services The Hilltop Institute provided to the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) under the Master Agreement between Hilltop and MDH. The report covers fiscal year (FY) 2017 (July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017). Hilltop's interdisciplinary staff provided a wide range of services, including: Medicaid program development and policy analysis; HealthChoice program support, evaluation, and financial analysis; long-term services and supports program development, policy analysis, and financial analytics; and data management and web-accessible database development.
Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
The Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports in Maryland Chart Book, Volume 1, The Autism Waiver is the first in a series of three that explores service utilization and expenditures for Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports in Maryland. Volume 2 explores service utilization and expenditures for Maryland Medicaid's Brain Injury Waiver. Volume 3 provides information on the state's Medicaid Model Waiver.
Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
The Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports in Maryland Chart Book, Volume 2, The Brain Injury Waiver is the second in a series of three that explores service utilization and expenditures for Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports in Maryland. Volume 1 explores service utilization and expenditures for Maryland Medicaid's Autism Waiver. Volume 3 provides information on the states' Medicaid Model Waiver.
The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative;
The report, Strengthening Baltimore's Workforce: Reflections and Lessons Learned, presents data on program completion, job placement, starting wage and employment retention rates for 1,187 participants. While the outcomes varied by program, most jobseekers benefited on every measure. For example, approximately 80% of participants in the construction program completed training and received at least one credential. Of those placed in jobs, 70% were still employed after six months. Graduates across all programs were able to secure average starting wages of $12 to $18 an hour, much higher than the $8.75 state minimum wage, the report finds.The collaborative is a public/private partnership between Casey, other local and national foundations, corporate donors and representatives of city and state workforce agencies. Collectively, its members have pooled more than $14 million to support sector-specific strategies that provide greater training and job opportunities for residents who face barriers to employment. These efforts are primarily focused on six growing industries: biotechnology, construction, food service, transportation and logistics, environmental sustainability and manufacturing.Baltimore's unemployment rate was 41 times the national average in August 2016, with many residents facing obstacles such as prior criminal convictions, limited math and literacy skills and unstable housing. The report outlines several strategies that have helped the local workforce development effort succeed despite these barriers:collaboration with employers and stakeholders to understand and address labor force needs;programming that includes relevant skill development and industry-recognized certifications;wraparound services, peer groups and supportive instructional approaches to address the barriers jobseekers face;rigorous job placement and post-program follow-up; anda commitment to monitoring and tracking the performance of training programs and allocating resources accordingly.The report calls for additional policy and system reforms to address the inequities that have left many communities disconnected from quality employment and educational opportunities. They include changes to wages, benefits and safety practices, as well as criminal justice reform and an expansion of mental health, addiction and adult education services. Many of the programs have already made notable shifts, including the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, JumpStart and the Baltimore Center for Green Careers, which expanded job opportunities to individuals without a college degree and those with prior criminal records."These results show what's possible when we focus on the needs of local employers and create opportunities for residents to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to build family-supporting careers," says Allison Gerber, a senior associate at the Foundation. "The next step is to ensure more youth and young adults can benefit from these programs. This report gives us a good outline of what's working, and where we need to build."Considering the breadth of community employment needs, existing sectoral programs operate at a much smaller scale than what Baltimore requires. To expand the scope and ensure more residents can secure family-supporting jobs, the report recommends partners across the city work to increase investment in industry-specific workforce programs, increase the number of quality jobs that are available and educate and prepare more individuals to enter these programs.
My Brother's Keeper- Baltimore;
This report looks at the "enormous survival challenges facing Black males of all ages in communities across Baltimore." The recommendations presented in this initial report are intended to establish a blueprint that can be used to focus city-wide collaborations and refine programmatic strategies to realistically address the alarming challenges faced by Black male youth.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Outlines the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse program's model for exhibiting art by those in addiction recovery as a way to offer insight into substance abuse and recovery. With lessons learned and submissions, selection, and installation guidelines.
Annie E. Casey Foundation;
Describes a school preparation project for preschool children and families. Outlines specific strategies, action steps, and measures of accountability for implementation.