Mosby made the announcement on Friday following her office’s one-year experiment in not prosecuting minor offenses to decrease the spread of Covid-19 behind bars.
The experiment, known as The Covid Criminal Justice Policies, is an approach to crime developed with public health authorities. Instead of prosecuting people arrested for minor crimes like prostitution and public urination, the program dealt with those crimes as public health issues and work with community partners to help find solutions.
The program has led to decreases in the overall incarcerated Baltimore population by 18%, while violent and property crimes are down 20% and 36% respectively, according to the press release.
Mosby said her office will no longer prosecute the following offenses: drug and drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offense, open container violations, and urinating and defecating in public.
“When the courts open next month, I want my prosecutors working with the police and focused on violent offenses, like armed robbery, carjacking cases and drug distribution organizations that are the underbelly of the violence in Baltimore, not using valuable jury trial time on those that suffer from addiction,” Mosby said.
“Prosecutors take an oath to uphold the constitution in the state of Maryland and the constitution says the general assembly sets the policy, not the prosecutors,” Cassilly told the station. “I respect the whole prosecutorial discretion. That’s not prosecutorial discretion, that’s an exercise in legislating. That’s what the legislature is supposed to do.”
“Rather than arrest and prosecution, BCRI will connect individuals with services in areas such as mental health, housing, and substance use,” according to the press release.