The second half-day forum to be held in advance of the Solutions Summit was on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and more than 100 people came together on October 22 to debate and determine the top recommendations to bring to Baltimore’s new city council and newly elected Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Ahead of the forum, a planning group co-chaired by Tara Huffman, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program, prepared a white paper which included background information, a list of previous research and sources, and 27 potential recommendations on topics such as policing, re-entry services, bail reform, and youth justice. The Justice planning group was co-chaired by Andre Davis, Senior Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
“Through the work of the planning group and further outreach and information gathering efforts, we really were able to bring to the forum a good initial list of recommendations,” Huffman said. “Most every recommendation that made it on the list of 27, we had gotten that recommendation from more than one source. We kept hearing the same recommendations over and over and over. So by the time we got to the forum – even though the room was extremely lively and engaged – we mostly were working on consolidating.”
After presentations and small group discussions, attendees voted on which 10 they thought were most important for the new mayor and City Council to pursue. To see the list of 10 solutions, the Justice white paper, and a list of planning group members, go to solutionssummitbaltimore.org.
Huffman said there was some concern that police reform would dominate the conversation, since the forum came on the heels of high-profile allegations of police brutality around the country and here in Baltimore.
“There was a feeling among the group that it’s not just about police; there are other things that aren’t working and those things need attention as well,” Huffman said. “Our final 10 recommendations covered a range of issues – no one issue dominated, which communicates to us that the community understands justice issues in a much more sophisticated way than we thought.”
Attendees voted on the final 10 priorities using mobile technology. The recommendations were presented at the Dec. 10 Solutions Summit where they were narrowed further and included in a 15-point blueprint for Baltimore’s leadership.