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  • A Justice Policy Institute ReportJune 2010

    BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS:

  • About the Justice Policy InstituteThe Justice Policy Institute is a non-profitresearch and public policy organization dedicatedto reducing societys reliance on incarcerationand promoting fair and effective solutions tosocial problems.

    About the authorNastassiaWalsh is a research associate at the Jus-tice Policy Institute. In her four years working forJPI,Walsh has had the opportunity to work on anumber of different collaborations and projects,both nationally and in Maryland. She joined JPIshortly after earning her master's degree inforensic psychology from Marymount Univer-sity, where she studied psychological principlesin the law and injustices in the criminal justicesystem. Walsh also holds a bachelor of sciencedegree in psychology and justice studies fromArizona State University. She is an active volun-teer at Opportunities,Alternatives and Resources(OAR) of Fairfax County,Virginia, an organiza-tion that aids both incarcerated adults andpeople recently released from jail in their re-entry process to help break the cycle ofincarceration.

    AcknowledgementsThis report would not have been possible with-out the generous support of the Open SocietyInstitute-Baltimore. This report is the culmina-tion of interviews with many people inBaltimore, including stakeholders and peopleaffected by the criminal justice system, researchand data analysis and visits to different parts ofthe system, much of which could not have beendone without the cooperation of the MarylandDepartment of Public Safety and CorrectionalServices and the Division of Pretrial Detentionand Services. Special thanks are due to CortezRainey at the Division of Pretrial Detention andServices for his assistance with data and arrang-ing meetings and tours of the jail and to the staffof the Maryland Department of Public Safetyand Correctional Services and the Division of

    Pretrial Detention and Services for their carefulreview of the report.

    JPI greatly appreciates the input and expertise ofLaurel Albin, Office of the Public Defender; Eliz-abeth Alexander, ACLU National PrisonProject; Wendy Hess, Public Justice Center;Kimberly Barranco, Baltimore Criminal JusticeCoordinating Council; BobWeisengoff, PretrialRelease Services; Chief Judge Ben Clyburn, Dis-trict Court; Dave Weissert, District Court;Sheryl Goldstein and Jean Lewis,Mayors Officeon Criminal Justice; Patrick Motsay, Office ofthe States Attorney for Baltimore City; JudgeM.Brooke Murdock, Baltimore City Circuit Court;Mr. Mohammad Ahmad, ACT-SAP program;Dr. Tedra Jamison, Mental Health Unit in theBaltimore City Detention Center; and BruceBrown, Division of Parole and Probation. Weare grateful to Peta Myers at the Baltimore CityPolice Department for providing data and toMs. Cynthia Jackson for sharing her womensgroup in the jail. And to the men and womencurrently in the jail or who have been releasedfrom the jail who we were willing to share theirstories, we thank you.

    Finally, the author would like to thank ProfessorDoug Colbert at the University of MarylandSchool of Law, Monique Dixon at the OpenSociety Institute-Baltimore, Natalie Finegar ofthe Office of the Public Defender NorthwestCommunity Defense Project, Andrea Harrisonat the Prisoners Aid Association and JacquelineRobarge at Power Inside for their insight andreview of the report.

    JPI staff includes Jason Fenster, LaWanda John-son, Amanda Petteruti, Adam Ratliff, KellieShaw, Ellen Tuzzolo, Tracy Velazquez and KeithWallington. Research and communicationsinterns Lara Kinne, Zachary Levy, Sarah Moli-noff, Robert Noel and Jonathon Vogelmanprovided indispensible assistance to the research,writing and dissemination process of this report.The report was designed by Audrey Denson.

  • JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS 1

    Dear Reader:

    Far more people in the United States spend time in jail than in prison. And while the impacts of prisonhave been the subject of study for some time, only recently have jails come under closer scrutiny.Whatthe Justice Policy Institute and others have seen is that jails can be as destructive to peoples lives as pris-ons: separating people from their families and communities; exposing them to trauma and disease; dis-rupting treatment, jobs, and education; and returning them to the streets ill-prepared to either establishor re-establish a successful life in the community. The difference is that when a person is in jail rather thanprison, all of these impacts can occur while people are awaiting their day in court for an offense for whichthey have not yet been judged.

    When we at the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) decided to examine why there were so many people in theBaltimore jail, we anticipated that we would find many of the same problems facing other jurisdictions.However, what we discovered was that due to the unique and complex nature of the Baltimore criminaljustice system, not only are the reasons for the jails overpopulation more difficult to unravel, the solu-tions will need to be more unique and complex as well.

    The product of this multifaceted work is an unprecedented overview of the Baltimore criminal justice sys-tem and jail; an analysis of what is driving the jails population; and finally, practical recommendationsfor all stakeholders, including the courts, the police, the healthcare/treatment system, the bail industry,the jail and Baltimore City itself. One conclusion that became clear was that Baltimore and the state ofMaryland cannot build their way out of the problem of locking up such a high number of its residentsthrough more or newer facilities.

    In many ways, jails are like the canary in the coal mine: bloated jails are a symptom of systemic prob-lems that have gone unaddressed. This is true in Baltimore, where the situation is complicated by themix of jurisdiction and authority that has resulted in a lack of real accountability: everyone can point tosomeone else as a contributor to the number of people in the jail. With the highest percentage of thegeneral population in jail of any of the twenty largest jail systems in the country, it is imperative thatstate and local leaders commit to a concrete goal for reduction of the Baltimore jail population, to beachieved on an aggressive timeline. This will require an exceptional level of collaboration given the mul-titude of entities that must be a part of the solution, and it will require considerable commitment andthe expenditure of some political capital as well. But for the people of Baltimore, the stakes are too highto continue with business as usual.

    While this report is finished, our work in Baltimore and Maryland continues. JPI is planning a numberof activities to follow up on this report, and we will continue to be an active part of the Baltimore Grass-roots Criminal Justice Network.We are very appreciative of the support that we have received from theOpen Society Institute - Baltimore for this work, as well as all those who generously shared their expert-ise and time to help us gain not just knowledge about the system and the jail, but a deeper understand-ing of the impact they have on people, families and the community of Baltimore.We hope this report willact as a catalyst for change. Implementing smart and effective policies will help create a safer and strongerBaltimore and have lasting benefits to both Baltimore and all of Maryland.

    Sincerely,

    Tracy VelzquezExecutive Director

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  • JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS 3

    Introduction........................................................................................................................................4

    What has changed since Maryland took over the Baltimore jail? ...................................................8

    Shift to pretrial detention .................................................................................................................8

    Change in processing and arrest practices with the opening of Central Booking .............................9

    Who is in the jail?..............................................................................................................................12

    The jail is frequently overcrowded..................................................................................................12

    The majority of people in the jail are pretrial. ...............................................................................13

    A quarter of the people in the jail are classified as low security......................................................13

    Most of the people in jail are under 35 years of age........................................................................14

    African Americans make up the largest percentage of the people in the jail...................................15

    Most people in the jail are incarcerated for drug, property and technical offenses. ........................15

    Howmuch does Maryland spend on the Baltimore jail system?...................................................17

    What happens when someone is arrested in Baltimore?................................................................19

    The Booking Process .......................................................................................................................19

    Flow chart of the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center...................................................20

    How do pretrial processes and policies affect the number of people in jail?................................24

    Bail has a significant impact on the number of people in jail. .......................................................25

    People can be safely released pretri

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