Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby was quoted at the University of Baltimore Law's 400 Years: Slavery and the Criminal Justice System conference in saying one of the most significant civil rights issues facing African Americans in Baltimore City is the "flawed" criminal justice system that has kept many in a perpetual state of mass incarceration and economic oppression, reported The Baltimore Sun.
"Black people are six times more likely to be arrested and become a part of the criminal justice system [than] whites," Mosby said at the two-day conference on Saturday.
Mosby blamed the "over-militarization of police departments" in inner cities and unfair laws as a significant contributor to the economic disparities affecting African American communities not just in Baltimore but in major cities across the country.
"You have an over-militarization of police departments all across the country, racially unjust application of laws against poor black and brown people, [and] collateral consequences of these convictions that have kept black and brown people and communities [as] second-class citizens," she said.
Other speakers shared similar views at the conference, such as defense attorneys, law students, academics, community leaders, and city residents.
Mosby said the civil rights of African Americans in the poorest Baltimore City neighborhoods are being threatened by city police officers who are enforcing racist laws. Mass incarceration in the city has created limited economic mobility for black youth, she added.
She said her decision to stop prosecuting marijuana possessions is a new direction for the criminal justice system that would help to address racial inequities built into the system that has led to the mass oppression of low-income communities.
Mosby's five years of laissez-faire attitude on crime in Baltimore City has coincided with five-years of homicides climbing over 300 or more per year.
David Fakunle, the acting chairman of the Maryland Commission on Truth and Reconciliation, was recently quoted by The Sun as saying there needs to be a significant overhaul of the city's criminal justice system that is disproportionately affecting African Americans.
Fakunle was recently heard at a separate conference in saying, "Respect my existence, or expect my resistance."
And referring to Fakunle's comments, Law Enforcement Today said, "Hopefully citizens don't take those words out of context or use them to the extreme while dealing with police encounters, as resistance to members of law enforcement is dangerous for both the officers and the subject."
There's no question that Baltimore's criminal justice system needs a drastic overhaul, and it certainly seems that the city is nowhere close in determining which reforms will be the best solutions to end mass incarcerations that could one day liberate hundreds of thousands out of poverty.
In the meantime, Baltimore City will continue its death spiral until meaningful reform is seen. It could be decades before the real change arrives.