Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby declared the “war on drug users” is over and her office will no longer prosecute low-level crimes like drug possession and prostitution.
The program has been in place for the last year and was designed to reduce the population in city jails during the pandemic. Yesterday, Mosby made the policy permanent.
“Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction,” said Mosby in an official press release.
Mosby said her office will no longer prosecute drug and drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offense, open container violations, and urinating and defecating in public.
Her decision was supported by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. But Republican state Sen. Robert Cassilly told CNN affiliate WBFF that while he supports prosecutorial judgment, Mosby’s decision is closer to making the law rather than enforcing it.
“Prosecutors take an oath to uphold the constitution in the state of Maryland and the constitution says the general assembly sets the policy, not the prosecutors,” Cassilly told the station. “I respect the whole prosecutorial discretion. That’s not prosecutorial discretion, that’s an exercise in legislating. That’s what the legislature is supposed to do.”
Baltimore, already a very unpleasant place to live, is about to get worse. When mayors don’t care about the “quality of life” issues like public urination and prostitution, they invite behaviors that make the city unlivable.
Mosby said the state’s attorney’s office is also working with the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI), a crisis center dealing with mental health and substance abuse issue, to offer services instead of arresting individuals committing these lesser offenses.
“Rather than arrest and prosecution, BCRI will connect individuals with services in areas such as mental health, housing, and substance use,” according to the press release.
Decriminalizing certain behaviors and activities will only encourage those same activities. Just ask San Francisco residents what happened when the city stopped prosecuting people for public urination and defecation.
“This is not compassion for the homeless. It’s condemning people to the consequences of squalor,” wrote the editor of the police blog Law Officer.
I am a Southern Californian, but relocated to Texas upon retirement from law enforcement. I have family members who live in the Bay Area, so we’d frequently visit San Francisco. However, a few years ago I said I’d had enough after the overly aggressive panhandlers spoiled a sightseeing day at Fisherman’s Wharf. Yet the coup de grace for me was entering a public restroom near the BART station and witnessing a vagrant—high on heroin—taking a crap in the sink—when public stalls were available.
“I’m done with this city,” I declared when I returned to my waiting family.
As police forces shrink and crime grows, this policy will probably be forced on all major cities. It’s what the radicals want. And Baltimore will suffer the consequences.
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