Watch Our Webinar: Policy Reforms to Stop the Criminalization of Poverty in Maryland

Posted May 17, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Community Matters: A Focus on People and Place

A new webi­nar record­ing from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion explores how a crim­i­nal record fuels a cycle of pover­ty in Mary­land and the pow­er­ful role that pol­i­cy reforms can play in dis­rupt­ing this cycle.

The event, host­ed on May 8, 2018, fea­tures pan­elists from the Job Oppor­tu­ni­ties Task Force, Lead­ers of a Beau­ti­ful Strug­gle, Mary­land Con­sumer Rights Coali­tion and Out for Jus­tice Inc.

WATCH THE WEBINAR

The hour-long webi­nar record­ing echoes the find­ings of a Casey-fund­ed report, The Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of Pover­ty, authored by the Jobs Oppor­tu­ni­ties Task Force. Accord­ing to the report: In Mary­land, state and local poli­cies place finan­cial bur­dens on those who can least afford it. It’s a sys­tem that caus­es unnec­es­sary arrests, crim­i­nal charges and the impris­on­ment of poor peo­ple — espe­cial­ly peo­ple of color.

One of the things this report does is pro­vide the social-sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence as to the exis­tence of racism in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem,” says Dayvon Love, direc­tor of pub­lic pol­i­cy for Lead­ers of a Beau­ti­ful Struggle.

The webi­nar dis­cus­sion and report iden­ti­fy four main ways that poor peo­ple in Mary­land find them­selves ensnared in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. These are:

  1. Racial pro­fil­ing.
  2. Motor vehi­cle laws, specif­i­cal­ly sus­pen­sion and revocation.
  3. Col­lec­tion of child sup­port and civ­il debts.
  4. Civ­il asset forfeiture.

Both resources also high­light sev­er­al pol­i­cy moves to help counter the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of pover­ty, such as lim­it­ing the use of cash bail, assess­ing abil­i­ty to pay before impos­ing fees and sim­pli­fy­ing the process of get­ting a record expunged.

The May 8 webi­nar is part of the Foun­da­tion’s Com­mu­ni­ty Mat­ters series, which delves into the com­plex issues sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ty change and the lessons that Casey and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions have learned from their work in neigh­bor­hoods nationwide.

Read the Crim­i­nal­iza­tion of poverty

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