• Technocrats of the Drug War

    The Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA) was named the 2012 HIDTA of the Year by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The January announcement was made by the University of Maryland’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences where the W/B HIDTA is housed. The little noted award ceremony, honoring a […]

  • Murdered in Maximum Security

    Let us speak on behalf of the dead—because we are implicated in these particular homicides. But let’s first be clear on who these murder victims were. Ricky Bailey and Michael Armstead were convicted rapists. Charles David Richardson IV was convicted of murdering two people. They were not innocents. They were violent criminals. Yet all three […]

  • DNA, Race and Public Safety

    On February 26 the Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine the constitutionality of Maryland’s DNA collection law. The DNA Collection Act (2009) allows law enforcement to obtain and analyze genetic information from individuals without a search warrant who have not been convicted of any crime and have merely been arrested. Strongly supported by the […]

  • Baltimore, BGF and “Deadly Symbiosis”

    The young man handed me a piece of notebook paper, fragile at the creases where it had been folded and unfold many times. Kept in a pocket, taken out often to be reviewed and studied, it was a handwritten bibliography of works he was required to read as a new member of the Black Guerrilla […]

  • Gang Talk

    Baltimore’s new police commissioner Anthony Batts says the city has a new gang problem and gangs are responsible for the recent increases in crime. “I was told,” the Baltimore Sun quotes him as saying, “that what [Black Guerilla Family is] doing is expanding and taxing other gangs, basically franchising out. If [those gangs] don’t want […]

  • Death, Life Without Parole & Legislating Extreme Punishment

    Maryland lawmakers have a real chance this legislative session to vote to abolish the state’s death penalty. This makes it an opportune time to examine the growing body of research and reflection on America’s increasing use of sentences of “life without parole”(LWOP) and their relationship to the broad national trend toward capital punishment abolition. Nowhere […]

  • A Beginning: The Goucher Prison Education Partnership

    “Just because one blind hog may occasionally find an acorn does not mean many other blind hogs will,” Rep. Bart Gordon (R-Tenn.) famously observed on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in April 1994. “The same principle applies to giving Federal Pell grants to prisoners.” Gordon and a majority of both Democrats and […]

  • Prostitution and Policing: A Model

    “Prostitution and gambling have, like heroin and cocaine, generated enormous illegal markets in the past, been the source of corruption and the centerpiece of moralistic debates about prohibition,” writes University of Maryland professor Peter Rueter in Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places. “Prostitution,”  Rueter and his co-author Robert MacCoun–professor at the […]

  • Baltimore and the “Enduring Neighborhood Effect”

    In 2012 the concepts of “neighborhood” and “community” have made a big comeback in the language of law enforcement in Baltimore. January saw Baltimore State’s Attorney  roll out his plan for “community prosecutors.” Instead of having prosecutors take cases from across the city, district attorneys would now focus only on specific “zones” in Baltimore, with […]

  • New Year’s Resolution: Moving Beyond “Broken on All Sides”

    2012 may be remembered as the year that America’s massive reliance on incarceration broke into public and political consciousness in a way that signals the possibility of change. January saw the publication of a revised edition of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness that had become a […]