Black Prosecutors Lead Campaign to Tackle Twin Crises of Mass Incarceration and Racial Inequity
Mosby Policies Also Endorsed by Former Law Enforcement Association
Baltimore, Md. (August 24, 2021) - Today, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced a new partnership with The National Black Prosecutors Association (NBPA) to endorse its Campaign to “End the Presumption of Arrest” for certain low-level offenses. In March 2021, State’s Attorney Mosby announced the permanent adoption of her policy to end the prosecution of a range of low-level offenses, such as drug possession and prostitution. The NPBA campaign, which calls on state lawmakers to end the presumption of arrest for similar offenses, aligns with Mosby’s policies and vision.
“I am delighted to stand with prosecutors across the country who understand our responsibility to end racial inequities in this country and upend the status quo," said State’s Attorney Mosby. “History tells us that prosecuting these offenses has excessively impacted poor and black communities and I refuse to be complicit in the discriminatory enforcement of laws that can lead to a death sentence for black and brown people.”
The NBPA campaign follows a recent letter sent to State’s Attorney Mosby, Mayor Brandon Scott, and Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison by five former law enforcement officers of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). In the letter, the five write to “applaud your recent decision to stop arresting and prosecuting certain low-level offenses,” and note that “What Baltimore City is doing is tremendously thoughtful, innovative, and forward-thinking.”
“Today, with the support of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, we are so proud to announce our proposal to End the Presumption of Arrest when data proves that a custodial arrest is not necessary to keep the community safe,” says Bianca M. Forde, NBPA Legislative and Social Action Chair. “By limiting custodial arrests to circumstances where they are warranted, we have the opportunity to repair trust in the community and save lives. For perspective, the offense that led to the murder of George Floyd was a citable offense. We call on our membership to sign onto this important initiative, and we implore prosecutors around the country to follow State's Attorney Mosby's lead." says Forde.
The National Black Prosecutors Association approached the State’s Attorney’s Office about this campaign following the success of the State’s Attorney’s policies that were enacted during 2020 to reduce the inmate population during the pandemic and avoid exposing non-violent offenders to the virus and its effects.
America is the largest jailer of people in the world, with the punitive severity and excessive nature of sentences disproportionately impacting Black and Brown people. Here, in the State of Maryland, African-Americans make up a mere 30% of the State population, yet comprise 70% of the state’s prison population- that is more than double the national average. State’s Attorney Mosby and the National Black Prosecutors Association feel compelled to speak out against such injustice in a country where 95% of elected prosecutors are white.
The National Black Prosecutors Association was founded in Chicago, in 1983, recognizing the need for diversity in a space that so directly and profoundly impacts life and liberty; in particular, the life and liberty of Black people in America. In 2020, in the midst of social injustice throughout the nation and the world, NBPA expanded its mission includes legislative and social action.