The pandemic experiment conducted in Baltimore, United States, where low-level offenses weren’t prosecuted during the corona lockdown, became a case study in criminal justice reform after showing a decline in almost all categories of crime in the last year.
“Covid provided a real opportunity to test it, to move from theory to practice,” says Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois. “What [Baltimore State’s Attorney] Marilyn Mosby has been able to do is demonstrate that those changes didn’t lead to an increase in violent crime, didn’t lead to mayhem in the streets. The theory in practice yielded good results.”
Drug possession, minor traffic violations, and other quality-of-life crimes haven’t been prosecuted over the last 12 months. At the same time, violent crimes dropped by 20% and property crimes by 36%. With this reform, officers and prosecutors will focus on serious crimes and drug trafficking since, according to Mosby, “the data clearly suggest there is no public safety value in prosecuting low-level offenses.” A growing number of newly appointed prosecutors intend to permanently abandon low-level cases. Instead, services will be offered to help people who suffer from mental illness, homelessness, and drug addiction.