Criminal and Juvenile Justice

The Open Society Institute–Baltimore’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program seeks to reduce the use of incarceration and its social and economic costs without compromising public safety, and promote justice systems that are fair, are used as a last resort, and offer second chances. It supports advocacy, public education, research, grassroots organizing, litigation and demonstration projects that focus on reforming racial and social inequities at critical stages of the criminal and juvenile justice systems—from arrest to reentry into the community.

PRIORITIES

Reform arrests and pre-trial detention policies to reduce Baltimore City’s pre-trial detention population.

The program supports efforts to: investigate and promote effective alternatives to arrests, including school-based arrests; promote community-based alternatives to youth detention centers and adult jails; reform bail practices; create and implement objective, validated risk assessment tools; and end the practice of automatically charging youth as adults.

Reform parole and probation policies to reduce Maryland’s prison population.

The program supports efforts to increase the number of people who are released on parole, including individuals serving parole eligible life sentences; and decrease the number of people who are incarcerated for technical parole or probation violations.

Ensure the successful re-entry and reintegration of people with criminal records.

The program supports advocacy efforts and demonstration projects that promote policies and practices that ensure access to employment, education and other opportunities regardless of criminal background status.