Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown and Natasha Dartigue, the state’s Public Defender, announced the formation of the Maryland Equitable Justice Collaborative (MEJC), a new initiative designed to reduce the number of Black men, women, and other marginalized groups who are incarcerated in Maryland prisons.
Maryland leads the nation in the number of Blacks who are in state correctional institutions. Blacks comprise 30 percent of Maryland’s population while the state’s prison population is 71 percent Black. Black men make up 14 percent of Maryland’s general population but 73 percent of the state’s male prison population. Black women make up 16 percent of the state’s population but a disproportionate 53 percent of the female prison population.
The collaborative will bring together experts from the criminal justice system, academia, government, and the community to identify causes of the crisis and develop a strategy for reform. Historically Black Bowie State University’s Institute for Restorative Justice and Practices will be a partner in this initiative.
“This initiative is an opportunity to help change the lives of individuals, families, and communities,” said Aminta Breaux, president of Bowie State University. “By collaborating and working with the Attorney General, Public Defender and the other partners on this project, we can provide more hope for people. Maryland can make a difference and reverse the decades-long pattern of Black and Brown people dominating our prison population.”