Criminal Justice Reform & Violence Reduction

The level of crime in Baltimore City, including in neighborhoods from Brooklyn to Bayview to Federal Hill, is unacceptable. The rise in violent crime that has occurred in the past few years is the result of a confluence of factors, including decreasing arrests, lack of successful prosecutions, reduced resources from the Governor’s agencies (State Police, for instance). In July 2017, along with her Team, Brooke authored Baltimore PROSPERs, a proposal for reducing crime through short and long term strategies. To read it, click HERE.  Now she is leading the campaign/effort for implementation of several essential elements.  Throughout Brooke’s term, she has consistently pushed to expand proven practices to reduce crime. In 2017, she worked with her Committee to ensure that Baltimore Police Department received $2 million to pay for the City to install technology in squad cars. Because well-trained police are vital to a safe City, also placed a budget restriction on the state’s police training commission to require them to oversee enhanced efforts by BPD to improve training efforts for mid to low-level officers.

In 2018, Brooke is working to pass a bill to create the State’s first-ever program to fund evidence-based gun violence prevention work. This program – the Maryland Violence Intervention & Prevention Program (MD VIPP) – will invest in proven, public-health based practices in high-crime areas of the state to reduce gun violence.

Violence in Baltimore is extremely complex. It’s infuriating and frustrating. Brooke is continuing to work to find ways to reduce violence in our neighborhoods by passing legislation, working with partners, and pressuring the executives – both the Governor and Mayor – to do more.

At the same time, Brooke has been a leader in criminal justice reform efforts, empowering formerly-incarcerated individuals to lead productive and safe lives. She helped ensure passage of a strong version of the Second Chance Act, a bill to allow certain convictions to be expunged to enable Marylanders to access housing and jobs. She has also worked hard to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, by passing bills such as a prohibition on suspending and expelling our youngest children – like those in Kindergarten. Brooke has been a leader on bail reform issues, writing a letter that prompted the the issuance of an Attorney General opinion in 2016 that led the Court of Appeals to implement a major rule change on cash bail. This rule change should help keep truly dangerous individuals accused of crimes behind bars – and ineligible for bail – while awaiting trial, rather than allowing those who have access to money to buy their way out.