This week, the People’s Commission to Decriminalized Maryland held a virtual press conference to introduce the commission and its mission: To advocate for specific changes to Maryland’s criminal codes to stop the criminal justice system from targeting marginalized communities. You can watch the full presentation below.
As Tara Huffman, Director of OSI’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program, said during the press conference, OSI brought advocates and community members together to create the commission because previous task forces and commissions were controlled by politicians rather than the communities affected by these policies.
“I and others felt it necessary to finish the work and expand the work of these two bodies and do so in a way that, instead of relying on state actors with the support of community leaders, to sort of say which direction our justice system needs to move to flip that and to say, ‘No, it’s the people,'” she said, adding that “everyone who is a member of the commission is someone who has had direct lived experience with the issues that we’re tackling, or they are family members of folks, or they are advocates who have dedicated their lives and their careers to lifting up civil rights and human rights.” You can see a full list of Commission members here.
The press conference was covered by Maryland Matters, the Maryland Daily Record, and the Baltimore Bulletin. The Commission will hold a public information session on July 29th. Register here.