Criminal Justice | WYPR

Criminal Justice

WYPR

A new state law that took effect this week makes major changes to criminal justice policies. The law is intended to save the state money by reducing prison populations, then invest the savings in crime prevention efforts.

But one provision in the new law that is designed to send offenders to treatment for drug and alcohol addiction may not work as planned.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

Elizabeth Wexler stands at a chalkboard at the Baltimore City Police Training Academy while 50 cadets look on. She draws a large "T" and asks the class to say what comes to mind when they think of mental health.

Tidewater Muse / Flickr via Creative Commons

The murder and rape of a young woman in Baltimore in 1987 led to the wrongful convictions of two men. Each served more than two decades behind bars, and when DNA belatedly showed they had not sexually assaulted her, both faced the same choice: accept an Alford plea--a type of guilty plea--and be released, or maintain their innocence.

Rachel Baye

Facing record levels of violence, Baltimore officials are grappling with the best way to curb the violence, Mayor Catherine Pugh met with Governor Larry Hogan Monday afternoon to strategize.

At the top of her list, Pugh said she plans to bring in a team from the U.S. Department of Justice next month to help the city strategize.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed on Friday legislation removing questions about criminal history from applications for admission to public colleges.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Hogan expressed alarm that the bill “tips the scales to the detriment of public safety.”

“We should not encourage schools to turn a blind eye to a prospective student’s potentially violent criminal background,” he wrote.

But those fears are misguided, said Caryn York, who fought for the measure as the director of policy and strategic partnerships at the Baltimore-based advocacy group Job Opportunities Task Force.


"Precious" Hammond

In this Reveal/WYPR collaboration, we look at two cases of running from cops that reveal some truths about the intersection of policing and the courts.

Reporter Mary Rose Madden brings us the story of Jay Cook. He died in 2007 after a foot chase by Baltimore cops. When his parents asked why, they faced a wall of bureaucracy and evasion. 

Click here for a map showing the distance between the sites where Freddie Gray, Greg Butler and Jay Cook ran from police. 

Audio below. 

Maryland State Archives

Stanley Andrisse is an endocrinology post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University. He’s also a convicted felon.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Maryland’s House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill prohibiting state and local police from enforcing federal immigration law.

The bill prevents state and local police from inquiring about immigration status during a traffic stop or an unrelated arrest. It also prohibits state and local corrections officers from holding someone based on what’s known as a “detainer,” a request by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents to keep someone without a warrant while they look into his or her immigration status.

Rachel Baye

Monday marks the 69th day of the General Assembly session, known as "Crossover Day." Any bills not passed by either the House or the Senate at the end of the day will face additional hurdles to becoming law. News director Joel McCord chats with WYPR's state government reporter Rachel Baye about what legislation has made the cut and what might not.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Sitting handcuffed and shackled for a long car ride can be traumatic for a child. Deborah St. Jean, the director of the state public defender’s Juvenile Protection Division, said one of her clients particularly dreaded the shackles.

“When this girl has to come to court, she is handcuffed, shackled — black box, waist chains, 25 pounds — and she has tremendous anxiety about that,” St. Jean said. “And each conversation I have with her when I’m telling her she’s going to court, she will invariably ask me, ‘Do I have to be handcuffed? You know that’s so awful.’ It’s a three-hour ride for her.”

Rachel Baye

Nicole Hanson can rattle off a long list of examples of people who couldn’t pay their bail.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told a panel of Baltimore City representatives in the House of Delegates on Friday that the state’s cash bail system is likely unconstitutional.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday a series of measures aimed at assisting crime victims and their families.

One of the proposals would allow prosecutors of sex crimes to use as evidence a suspect’s previous sexual assault convictions.

Rachel Baye

A state legislative committee voted Thursday in favor of changes to how and when the Department of Juvenile Services strip searches children and adolescents in its custody. However, the group delayed decisions about new regulations for when and how to shackle youth.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

A legislative committee is expected to vote Thursday to limit shackling and strip searching children. The proposals will likely lead to new Department of Juvenile Services policies almost immediately.

Aaron Webb / Flickr / Creative Commons

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pledging at least $1 million in grants to help groups that serve victims of sexual assault in Baltimore after the Justice Department found the police department's responses to sexual assault "grossly inadequate."

The Republican governor said Thursday that the money represents immediate action to improve services to victims.

  

In October, sweeping reforms to the state’s criminal justice system will shrink the state prison population. But that means the population of offenders on parole and probation will increase. Employees in the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation said they are worried about the anticipated increase at a news conference Thursday morning.

Rachel Baye

Maryland’s prison system is short several hundred correctional officers.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union called on the state to fix the problem at a news conference Thursday morning at the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup. Union leaders say the shortage endangers correctional officers.

Waponi/flickr

The Maryland legislature is considering a bill called the "Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014" (SB 0804, HB 1166) which would shield convictions for ten non-violent misdemeanors from the eyes of the public-including most employers. A path to a second chance, or an unfair restriction on employers?