For Immediate Release: 5/14/15
Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced a new pilot program Thursday aimed at reducing Baltimore’s recidivism and unemployment rates. Mosby’s Aim to B’more launched on May 4th. Mosby’s pilot program is open to 30 eligible participants, who are non-violent — first time— felony drug offenders. Each participant will have their record expunged after successful completion of the program.
Deborah Spector, Deputy Director of Crime Control and Prevention, spent the last four months building the program under the direction of Mosby. Spector was recruited to the office in January, and is a former public defender who spent nearly 20 years representing the defendants in Howard County and Baltimore City.
Mosby’s Aim to B’more program is modeled after a nationally recognized program that is proven to both reduce recidivism rates and save tax dollars. After her win in last year’s Democratic primary, Mosby visited District and State's Attorney's Offices around the country including: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Experts lauded Attorney General Kamala Harris’ (D - CA) version of the program in California as a holistic approach to solving systemic issues within the criminal justice system.
“I promised voters that I would run a transparent, engaged, and innovative office. I’ve seen this program work, and I’ve talked with Attorney General Harris and her team about how to make it a success. I’m excited that we’ve been able to get this program off the ground so quickly. Aim to B’more will change lives,” said Mosby.
According to Spector, defendants are granted a Probation Before Judgment and placed on three years of meaningful probation.
Components of probation include:
- Community service tailored to the participant’s employment goals
- Completing a GED, associates, vocational, or similar educational program
- Completing STRIVE’s job skills program located at the Centers for Urban Families; and obtaining internships and full time employment
- The probation lasts three years; when full time employment is achieved probation becomes unsupervised
- An expungement is granted upon completion of the program
“I am honored to take the lead on this program," said Spector. “This program is more than just expungments. It is also about providing offenders an opportunity to turn their lives around— this is what will make Baltimore a better and more thriving community.”
Program participants are counting on this opportunity.
“I think [Aim to B’more] is going to change my life. I’m not doing too well right now, and this program is going to help me get a job and stay out of trouble,” said 19-year-old Shyheim Holly.
His mother agrees.
“I’m really excited for my son to be a part of this program. I believe Aim to B’more will not only save Shyheim’s life, but also the lives of other young people in this city," said Shanee Myers.
Mosby says that when given the choice, most individuals would choose a stable home and a career over life in the streets.
“Baltimore needs this program. By offering non-violent — first time — felony offenders the opportunity to get an education and establish a career, we are affording them the opportunity to be more.”