On The Ground: Press Conference on Governor’s Crime Package

As Delegate Washington has said time-and-time again, it is important to make strong efforts to increase public confidence and and transparency in law enforcement. And to be smart on crime, rather than “tough” in ways that have failed again and again.

On Jan. 30, she held a press conference in cooperation other leading advocates —  including public policy director of the MD ACLU Toni Holness and a panel of expert allies including Delegate Carlo Sanchez, representatives from the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Job Opportunities Task Force, Jews United for Justice, and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership — to fight Governor Hogan’s so-called “crime package,” a package that would take as back to the failed 90s-era “tough on crime” approach.

Gov. Hogan’s package consists of of six bills (HB100, HB101, HB 102, SB197, SB198, & SB199) that use mandatory sentencing and other “tough-on-crime”  tactics to fight gun crime and gang activity. But being smart on crime means examining past mistakes and learning from them. These bills instead repeat the mistakes of the past. We know, for instance, that mandatory minimums have repeatedly failed. They have been shown not to deter crime and not to promote certainty or uniformity in sentencing. Instead, they promote discrimination and exacerbate existing disparities in our criminal justice system. We need to find better options.