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Reducing the Disparate Impact of the Justice System Through Decriminalization

Updated: Mar 16


In collaboration with Baltimore Action Legal Team, Cause Engagement Associates serves as a program manager for the People's Commission to Decriminalize Maryland which consists of over 25 partnering agencies as well as individuals with lived experiences who are proactively working to reduce the disparate impact of the justice system on youth and adults who have been historically targeted and marginalized by local and state criminal and juvenile laws on the basis of their race, gender, disability or socio-economic status.


Convened by Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the People’s Commission conducted an examination of the existing Maryland code and court systems to identify the specific ways juvenile and criminal laws disproportionately harm historically marginalized groups.


Beyond identifying the issues, the workgroups worked together to envision ways that the laws can be changed, rewritten, or eliminated altogether to reduce disparate impact; reduce the prison industrial complex; and improve public health, community accountability, and overall well-being in Maryland. As Maryland, and other states around the nation grapple with calls to disinvest from law enforcement, it is crucial that we examine the laws police are tasked with enforcing and consider how we as a state can begin to engage in more effective ways to accomplish community safety and accountability.


To learn more, visit DecrimMaryland.org.



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