• 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Mass Murder

    It seems necessary to stop. Necessary to not just go on with whatever it is we are doing. How can mass murder become a routine occurrence in America? How can a horror like the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, for all its shock—the execution of children!—carry with it the strange sensation of utter familiarity? At what point […]

  • Gangsters

    On Tuesday in New York the U.S. Department of Justice announced its settlement of charges against the multinational bank HSBC for, among other things, laundering $881 million in drug trafficking proceeds. Hundreds of millions of dollars from drug buyers and sellers in the United States was the fuel for an elaborate international scheme that connected […]

  • The Disconnected: Youth, Policy, Work

    “Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life, rather than a Monday-to-Friday sort of dying.” Pulitzer Prize winning author Studs Terkel wrote this in his classic oral history Working, and is the […]

  • Condemnation of Blackness: Crime, Numbers and Baltimore

    December always brings an accounting. In the last month of the calendar year we sum our various categories of crime and we look for meaning in the numbers. We look to have the numbers speak for themselves. Policymakers, journalists, advocates, and law enforcement will point to the numbers to make their various arguments for what […]