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A year ago, Baltimore stopped prosecuting low-level crimes to stop the spread of COVID-19 in jails.
On Friday, officials announced those policies would become permanent after the last year's success.
Drug possession, prostitution, and urinating in public are among the crimes no longer being prosecuted.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday the city would no longer prosecute low-level, non-violent offenses after a year-long experiment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mosby stopped prosecuting such crimes a year ago as part of the Covid Criminal Justice policies effort to prevent virus transmission in jails and prisons, a move that was adopted by prosecutors in other cities as well.
A year on, the policies have been a "success," according to a joint statement from the state's attorney, mayor, and community partners.
"The policies enacted over the past year have resulted in a decrease in arrests, no adverse impact on the crime rate, and address the systemic inequity of mass incarceration," the statement said.
As a result, the policies will be adopted permanently.
"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," Mosby said. "We will develop sustainable solutions and allow our public health partners to do their part to address mental health and substance use disorder."
Offenses that will no longer be prosecuted include drug possession, prostitution, public urination, and open container laws, among others.
Baltimore's incarceration rate is down 18% over the last year, and the number of people entering the criminal justice system has decreased 39% compared to one year ago, according to data from the state's Public Safety and Correctional Services Department.
In Baltimore, violent crime is down 20% over the year, while property crime is down 36%.
Based on the data, the state's attorney concluded prosecuting the low-level crimes mentioned had "no public safety value."
"Clearly prosecuting low-level offenses with no public safety value is counterproductive to the limited law enforcement resources we have," Mosby said.
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Read the original article on Insider