This week, the People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland held a community convening to discuss its interim report, review the successes and setbacks during the 2021 legislative session, and discuss priorities going forward. You can watch the convening here.
OSI-Baltimore convened the People’s Commission to reduce the disparate impact of the justice system on people who have been historically targeted and marginalized by criminal and juvenile laws based on their race, gender, disability, or socio-economic status. For the interim report, the commission examined Maryland’s code and court systems to identify specific ways that laws disproportionately harm historically marginalized groups.
Each of the commission’s five workgroups – drug policy, homelessness, poverty, sex work, and youth – presented their approach the work and identified specific changes to the criminal code necessary to achieve their goals. Among the successes lifted up from the 2021 legislative session were the decriminalization of drug paraphernalia and overturning the governor’s veto of the “Unit Rule,” which will now allow more charges to be expunged from individuals’ records.