SENATE & HOUSE LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCE ACTION PLAN FOR SAFER COMMUNITIES

(ANNAPOLIS – February 9, 2020) – Last Tuesday, Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, joined by members of the Senate and House leadership announced a legislative package focused on violence reduction throughout the state.

“Too many communities in Maryland face an unacceptable level of violence and crime – this must end,” stated President Ferguson. “This package of legislation will hold offenders and our systems accountable and build communities of opportunity. Maryland families deserve better, and we will work with every single willing partner to solve this crisis.”

“Creating safer communities requires all of us to think outside the box, re-examine our own efforts and apply a broad array of innovative solutions,” said Speaker Jones. “We can’t just police our way out of this problem but, combining with more opportunities in our education system, these bills will have an impact on each of our communities.”

The legislative package is focused on three core tenants:

Real Accountability: In 2019, over 30% of murder victims were on supervision of parole & probation, and over 25% of murder suspects were on the same supervision. The General Assembly will:

  • Require a staffing plan and vacancy elimination in Parole & Probation, Juvenile Services and Corrections to provide more resources that prevent recidivism. These departments need the resources to do their jobs to stop crime;
  • Pass legislation to end witness intimidation, and ensure that gun offenders answer for their crimes;
  • Work with the Administration to support more resources for targeted prosecutions of the most violent offenders, particularly gun offenders.

Smarter Resources: All the laws in the world don’t matter if they are not enforced, or if county lines stop the needed collaboration to ensure those who violate the laws are prosecuted. The General Assembly will pass legislation to:

  • Require improved law enforcement coordination to identify regional crime trends; intelligence; outstanding warrants; to enhance resource deployment
  • Create special coordinated teams focused on violent offenders and support for high need neighborhoods to better prepare returning citizens for re-entry and a life that is not reliant on crime
  • Free up local officers to focus on crime by charging State Police with responding to accidents in major interstates;
  • Increase monitoring of the Port of Baltimore for guns and illegal drugs;
  • Improve opportunities for local law enforcement to cross jurisdictional lines to better coordinate and identify crime trends.

Fewer Illegal Guns: Crime is not properly addressed as long as illegal guns continue to be present in our homes and communities. This year, legislation will:

  • Require a statewide audit of gun crimes to pinpoint where the breakdown exists in the criminal justice system, from 911 call to disposition;
  • Increase penalties for lost and stolen guns; gun thefts; and close illegal gun loopholes to make sure that fewer people have access to illegal guns.

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