On Friday, OSI Director of Strategic Communications Evan Serpick moderated a panel on Criminal Justice and Opportunities for Legislative Success at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Maryland Policy Advocates Meeting. The panelists included Nikki Thompson, Senior Policy Advocate at the Job Opportunities Task Force, and Delegate Erek Barron of Prince George’s County. Serpick was filling in for Tara Huffman, director of OSI’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program, whose travel plans were delayed because of the weather.
The panel talked about the need for lawmakers to discern between policy proposals that sound good but maintain the status quo vs. policy proposals that get at the root causes, don’t perpetuate structural barriers, and bring about real transformations in the way the state prevents and responds to crime. Both panelists expressed hope that legislators would avoid “omnibus” or packaged bills that often mix positive policy proposals with regressive ones, often negating any positive effect.