Wednesday, October 17, 2018

TODAY, October 17, at 6 PM, tune in to WPFW's "Led By Love" segment to hear our Executive Director Marc Schindler, along with National Center for Victims of Crime's Executive Director Mai Fernandez, discussing our new report “Smart, Safe, and Fair: Strategies to Prevent Youth Violence, Heal Victims of Crime, and Reduce Racial Inequality." They will address how the justice system treats youth charged with violent offenses in ways which are unnecessarily expensive, ineffective and unjust.
Read the full report at

Friday, July 20, 2018

New Resource: Abell Foundation Report

The Abell Foundation has released a new report, “Fact Check: A Survey of Available Data on Juvenile Crime in Baltimore City,” collecting and analyzing available data on trends in juvenile crime rates, arrests, and outcomes in Baltimore City.

The report found that overall juvenile arrests are down in Baltimore, but juvenile arrests for violent crimes are up. However, for the first four months of 2018, total juvenile arrests were down 34 percent in comparison to arrest rates of the first four months of 2017.

In addition to arrest rates, the report also examines court cases for Baltimore’s youth. They found that the number of youth referred to adult court—indicating involvement in a violent crime—has increased slightly from 2013 (156 cases) to 2017 (216 cases). Even with that increase, less than 10 percent of juvenile arrests in 2017 were for crimes eligible for referral to adult court. While these numbers certainly need to be addressed, this directly contradicts the political narrative of a booming juvenile crime wave in Baltimore.

And there has been an increase in the return of juveniles originally charged in adult court back to juvenile court (19 percent in 2013 to 67 percent in 2017).  The report concludes that to better understand the level of juvenile violence in Baltimore, they need more access to data about juvenile records—such as recidivism data for youth charged with violent crimes.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Upcoming Event: Ending Incarceration of Women and Girls: How We Get There - Baltimore 7.21.18

Upcoming event - this Saturday, July 21, there will be a “Ending Incarceration of Women and Girls: How We Get There” town hall event in Baltimore. This event is to raise awareness about the current state of incarceration of women and girls in Maryland, and will addressing key issues such as ending women and girls incarceration, ending bail, alternatives to incarceration, re-entry, and voting/civil rights for returning citizens.

This event is free and will be held at the Impact Hub Baltimore, 10 East North Avenue from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT. For more information and to pre-register for the event click here, you can also email [email protected] with any questions you may have.

This event is sponsored by Maryland Justice Project, Out for Justice, and the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Upcoming Event: 6th Annual Baltimore Back to the Neighborhood Expungement Clinic

Join us for the 6th Annual Baltimore Back to the Neighborhood Expungement Clinic July 25th 9am-1pm at American Brewery, 1701 N. Gay Street, for free legal assistance with expungements, voter registration, employment resources and information about civil forfeiture police misconduct and money bail. For more information please contact Mary-Denise Davis at [email protected] 

A big thank you to our partners the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Abell Foundation.

Please share with anyone you know who may be interested. See you next week!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Survey of New Resources

Mass Incarceration Starts Young - Podcast

"The United States locks up more people than any country in the world. That starts young: Roughly a million kids a year get caught up in the criminal justice system. In Caught, a new podcast from WNYC, we'll listen as some of those young people tell their stories over nine episodes. They'll help us understand how we got here--and how we might help, rather than just punish troubled youth. Welcome to Caught: The Lives of Juvenile JusticeCaught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice is supported, in part, by the Anne Levy Fund, Margaret Neubart Foundation, the John and Gwen Smart Family Foundation, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project." Listen now.

The Costliest Choice - Report

The Children and Family Justice Center has published the third installment of their year-long series, Community Safety & the Future of Illinois’ Youth Prisons. This issue, “The Costliest Choice: Economic Impact ofYouth Incarceration,” discusses why Illinois should depart from youth incarceration and instead invest in strengthening Illinois youth, families, and communities – restoring much needed services damaged by the state budget crisis. 

Illinois’ use of five state prisons – incarcerating about 425 juveniles – has a direct operational cost of about $514 per youth, per day. This cost does not including education, services, or aftercare. However, alternatives to youth incarceration save money up front and provide long-term safety benefits. The report states “youth incarceration is the costliest response to delinquency – in upfront costs, hidden costs, youth outcomes, and societal costs. Even for high-risk youth, the costs of the choice to imprison outstrip other, less damaging approaches.” 

“Strong communities are key to success.” Illinois needs to increase funding for youth justice reinvestment programs and expand the capacity of local nonprofits that provide state social services to youth and families. 

Vincent Schiraldi on Parole and Probation

Vincent Schiraldi started his career in criminal justice reform in 1981, although he always knew that he wanted to dedicate his life to helping people, or as he humbly states to be “in the human services field.” Schiraldi started working at the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, and then went on to create two nonprofits, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco and our very own Justice Policy Institute. Today, at the Justice Lab at Columbia University he is a leading voice in criminal justice reform, specifically in regards to parole and probation.

Schiraldi has two reports out on parole and probation, one from a national perspective and the other focused on New York State. Since the creation of the parole and probation systems, they have deviated from their original intent and have become a trigger to mass incarceration. Schiraldi states that “nationwide there are almost five million people on probation and parole. That’s more people than live in half of U.S. states, one in 53 adults. It was never meant to be that big and it’s now a processing-back-to-prison environment.”

In an article that Schiraldi co-authored with Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, they state that when looking at the quality of justice, we often only measure its success by recidivism rate - which is “inadequate and often misleading.” Instead of focusing on recidivism rates, we should focus on alternatives to incarceration and improving what systems we already have in place - such as parole and probation, which were originally created to help people who are incarcerated. Highlights -

  • “[Probation and parole were] originally meant to be alternatives to prison, they now have become tripwires and triggers to mass incarceration.”
  • “Nationwide there are almost five million people on probation and parole. That’s more people than live in half of U.S. states, one in 53 adults. It was never meant to be that big and it’s now a processing-back-to-prison environment.”
  • On Less is More in New York report: “Twenty leading probation and parole administrators signed on to our report, which calls for ultimately cutting the systems they run in half and to reduce technical violations that lead back to prison.”
  • “There’s a lot of research showing that community cohesion and resilience makes communities safer, not just more police and more prisons.”
  • On Rikers Island: “New York’s already the least incarcerated and safest big city in the country. We’re going to do something that no U.S. city has done.”

Finding Strength Through Poetry - Poetry and Profiles

“Once you’ve been behind bars, words can feel like freedom.”

Formerly incarcerated people are now finding a new voice through poetry, thanks to the Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop. This workshop helps young men find a way to give expression to their lives during and after incarceration. Since 2002, the program has worked with teenagers charged and imprisoned as adults in the D.C. Jail and the federal prison system.

You can listen or read some of the members’ poetry here: