What happened? 

The People’s Commission to Decriminalize Maryland released a report envisioning ways laws can “be changed, rewritten, or eliminated altogether to reduce disparate impacts, reduce the prison industrial complex, and improve public health and community safety.” 

Wait, what’s decriminalization? 

The commission defines decriminalization as the elimination of policies and practices that put marginalized people at an increased risk of being involved in the justice system because of their identities rather than legitimate public safety threats or offenses. 

Got it. So why does Maryland need decriminalization? 

The criminal legal system is a costly taxpayers expense that is ineffective at addressing social problems, according to the report which states that Maryland spends over $55 million on police, courts, jails, and prison facilities. The commission is calling for decriminalization in Maryland because despite this large sum of money spent on the system, social problems such as poverty, homelessness, racial injustice, and over-policing, still persist. 

Makes sense to me. Anything else? 

The report, which you can read here, offers recommendations on how to accomplish greater public safety, health, and well-being in Maryland communities.