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Justice Policy Institute Baltimore Behind Bars Jail Report 2010

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BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS:

A Justice Policy Institute Report
June 2010

About the Justice Policy Institute
The Justice Policy Institute is a non-profit
research and public policy organization dedicated
to reducing society’s reliance on incarceration
and promoting fair and effective solutions to
social problems.

About the author
Nastassia Walsh is a research associate at the Justice Policy Institute. In her four years working for
JPI, Walsh has had the opportunity to work on a
number of different collaborations and projects,
both nationally and in Maryland. She joined JPI
shortly after earning her master's degree in
forensic psychology from Marymount University, where she studied psychological principles
in the law and injustices in the criminal justice
system. Walsh also holds a bachelor of science
degree in psychology and justice studies from
Arizona State University. She is an active volunteer at Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources
(OAR) of Fairfax County, Virginia, an organization that aids both incarcerated adults and
people recently released from jail in their reentry process to help break the cycle of
incarceration.

Acknowledgements
This report would not have been possible without the generous support of the Open Society
Institute-Baltimore. This report is the culmination of interviews with many people in
Baltimore, including stakeholders and people
affected by the criminal justice system, research
and data analysis and visits to different parts of
the system, much of which could not have been
done without the cooperation of the Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services and the Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services. Special thanks are due to Cortez
Rainey at the Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services for his assistance with data and arranging meetings and tours of the jail and to the staff
of the Maryland Department of Public Safety
and Correctional Services and the Division of

Pretrial Detention and Services for their careful
review of the report.
JPI greatly appreciates the input and expertise of
Laurel Albin, Office of the Public Defender; Elizabeth Alexander, ACLU National Prison
Project; Wendy Hess, Public Justice Center;
Kimberly Barranco, Baltimore Criminal Justice
Coordinating Council; Bob Weisengoff, Pretrial
Release Services; Chief Judge Ben Clyburn, District Court; Dave Weissert, District Court;
Sheryl Goldstein and Jean Lewis, Mayor’s Office
on Criminal Justice; Patrick Motsay, Office of
the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City; Judge M.
Brooke Murdock, Baltimore City Circuit Court;
Mr. Mohammad Ahmad, ACT-SAP program;
Dr. Tedra Jamison, Mental Health Unit in the
Baltimore City Detention Center; and Bruce
Brown, Division of Parole and Probation. We
are grateful to Peta Myers at the Baltimore City
Police Department for providing data and to
Ms. Cynthia Jackson for sharing her women’s
group in the jail. And to the men and women
currently in the jail or who have been released
from the jail who we were willing to share their
stories, we thank you.
Finally, the author would like to thank Professor
Doug Colbert at the University of Maryland
School of Law, Monique Dixon at the Open
Society Institute-Baltimore, Natalie Finegar of
the Office of the Public Defender Northwest
Community Defense Project, Andrea Harrison
at the Prisoners Aid Association and Jacqueline
Robarge at Power Inside for their insight and
review of the report.
JPI staff includes Jason Fenster, LaWanda Johnson, Amanda Petteruti, Adam Ratliff, Kellie
Shaw, Ellen Tuzzolo, Tracy Velazquez and Keith
Wallington. Research and communications
interns Lara Kinne, Zachary Levy, Sarah Molinoff, Robert Noel and Jonathon Vogelman
provided indispensible assistance to the research,
writing and dissemination process of this report.
The report was designed by Audrey Denson.

>

Far more people in the United States spend time in jail than in prison. And while the impacts of prison
have been the subject of study for some time, only recently have jails come under closer scrutiny. What
the Justice Policy Institute and others have seen is that jails can be as destructive to people’s lives as prisons: separating people from their families and communities; exposing them to trauma and disease; disrupting treatment, jobs, and education; and returning them to the streets ill-prepared to either establish
or re-establish a successful life in the community. The difference is that when a person is in jail rather than
prison, all of these impacts can occur while people are awaiting their day in court for an offense for which
they have not yet been judged.
When we at the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) decided to examine why there were so many people in the
Baltimore jail, we anticipated that we would find many of the same problems facing other jurisdictions.
However, what we discovered was that due to the unique and complex nature of the Baltimore criminal
justice system, not only are the reasons for the jail’s overpopulation more difficult to unravel, the solutions will need to be more unique and complex as well.
The product of this multifaceted work is an unprecedented overview of the Baltimore criminal justice system and jail; an analysis of what is driving the jail’s population; and finally, practical recommendations
for all stakeholders, including the courts, the police, the healthcare/treatment system, the bail industry,
the jail and Baltimore City itself. One conclusion that became clear was that Baltimore and the state of
Maryland cannot build their way out of the problem of locking up such a high number of its residents
through more or newer facilities.

TO OUR READERS

Dear Reader:

In many ways, jails are like the canary in the coal mine: bloated jails are a symptom of systemic problems that have gone unaddressed. This is true in Baltimore, where the situation is complicated by the
mix of jurisdiction and authority that has resulted in a lack of real accountability: everyone can point to
someone else as a contributor to the number of people in the jail. With the highest percentage of the
general population in jail of any of the twenty largest jail systems in the country, it is imperative that
state and local leaders commit to a concrete goal for reduction of the Baltimore jail population, to be
achieved on an aggressive timeline. This will require an exceptional level of collaboration given the multitude of entities that must be a part of the solution, and it will require considerable commitment and
the expenditure of some political capital as well. But for the people of Baltimore, the stakes are too high
to continue with “business as usual.”
While this report is finished, our work in Baltimore and Maryland continues. JPI is planning a number
of activities to follow up on this report, and we will continue to be an active part of the Baltimore Grassroots Criminal Justice Network. We are very appreciative of the support that we have received from the
Open Society Institute - Baltimore for this work, as well as all those who generously shared their expertise and time to help us gain not just knowledge about the system and the jail, but a deeper understanding of the impact they have on people, families and the community of Baltimore. We hope this report will
act as a catalyst for change. Implementing smart and effective policies will help create a safer and stronger
Baltimore and have lasting benefits to both Baltimore and all of Maryland.
Sincerely,

Tracy Velázquez
Executive Director

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

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[blank page]

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What has changed since Maryland took over the Baltimore jail? ...................................................8
Shift to pretrial detention.................................................................................................................8
Change in processing and arrest practices with the opening of Central Booking .............................9
Who is in the jail?..............................................................................................................................12
The jail is frequently overcrowded..................................................................................................12
The majority of people in the jail are pretrial. ...............................................................................13
A quarter of the people in the jail are classified as low security......................................................13
Most of the people in jail are under 35 years of age........................................................................14
African Americans make up the largest percentage of the people in the jail...................................15
Most people in the jail are incarcerated for drug, property and technical offenses.........................15
How much does Maryland spend on the Baltimore jail system?...................................................17
What happens when someone is arrested in Baltimore?................................................................19
The Booking Process .......................................................................................................................19
Flow chart of the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center...................................................20
How do pretrial processes and policies affect the number of people in jail?................................24
Bail has a significant impact on the number of people in jail. .......................................................25
People can be safely released pretrial and without bail. .................................................................30
Increasing lengths of stay are contributing to overcrowding in the jail. .........................................32

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction........................................................................................................................................4

How do court systems affect the number of people in jail? ...........................................................34
District Court ................................................................................................................................34
Early Resolution Court process of the District Court .................................................................35
Circuit Court .................................................................................................................................39
Collateral dockets .......................................................................................................................39
Postponements ...........................................................................................................................40
Re-Entering Baltimore City .............................................................................................................44
How do conditions in the jail affect successful re-entry?............................................................47
What do people need when returning to the community?.........................................................49
Treatment...................................................................................................................................49
Medication and referrals to treatment .......................................................................................52
Medicaid and Other Benefits .....................................................................................................52
Property and Identification........................................................................................................53
Housing ......................................................................................................................................53
Conclusion and Recommendations.................................................................................................57
Appendix: Baltimore locks up the highest percentage of
its population out of the top 20 largest jail systems in the country..............................................65
Glossary of Terms .............................................................................................................................66

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INTRODUCTION

>

A
T

T he Baltimore jail system is one of the oldest and largest1 pretrial
facilities in the country, holding around 4,000 people on any given day.2
Despite recent, positive justice-related reforms in Baltimore and
Maryland, the state’s solution to these crowded and old facilities is to build
two new facilities in the middle of a recession, without plans to close the old wings.
These wings will be used to house people displaced by future capital projects in pretrial detention in the jail and to expand the delivery of programs and services for
adult men in the jail.3 It is past time for coming up with effective solutions that will
create lasting reductions in the number of people incarcerated in the jail and long
term gains in public safety. Before the state of Maryland spends millions of dollars to
construct two new facilities for the jail, it and Baltimore City should develop and
carry out a plan that will ensure that only the people who present a viable risk to public safety are held in the jail before their trial. Baltimore should be looking at innovative and evidence-based approaches to reducing the number of people going into
and being detained in the jail, following the example of other jurisdictions around the
country. The result will be a stronger and safer Baltimore for generations to come.

The Baltimore jail is one of the largest municipal jails in the nation. More than 73,000 people
go through the Baltimore Central Booking and
Intake Center every year and over 35,000 people
are committed to the Baltimore City Detention
Center annually.4 At the start of 2010, there were
more than 3,600 men, women and children in
custody, but the annual average is around 400
people higher, at about 4,000 people per day.5
Baltimore is not only the home of one of the 20

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

largest jails in the country, but it also has the distinction of holding the highest percentage of its
population in jail when compared to the other
19 largest jails in the country6 (See appendix).
And Baltimore continues to incarcerate its residents at alarming rates despite falling crime
rates in the city;7 research does not support the
idea that more incarceration equals less crime—
it actually is the opposite.8 Furthermore, the
policies enacted in this city have a dispropor-

tionate and lasting effect on communities of
color as the majority of people arrested and
incarcerated in Baltimore are African American.
Baltimore’s criminal justice system and jail are
structured differently than a typical county or
city jail. Unlike other localities, the state of
Maryland funds and operates the pretrial detention facilities in Baltimore, including the
Baltimore jail. For this reason, initiatives that
have worked in other jurisdictions to reduce the
number of people in their jails may not be as
effective in Baltimore. While counties and cities
that pay for their own detention facilities have a
financial incentive to limit the number of people in their jails, Baltimore City does not, and
residents all over the state of Maryland pay for
the often overcrowded facility at a cost of
around $150 million a year.9 Better and more
cost-effective solutions are available to improve
public safety and strengthen communities.

The Baltimore jail system is
one of the oldest and largest
pretrial facilities in the
country, holding around 4,000
people on any given day.
Currently, Maryland is in the process of planning for two new facilities at the jail—one for
youth ages 14 and older who are being tried as
adults, and the other for women—at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $280 million.10
Maryland is adding these facilities because there
is currently not enough space for the services it
wishes to provide and to create better conditions
for the women and children who are incarcerated in Baltimore. The current wings and units
do not allow for adequate services in the jail for
these young people awaiting trial. In addition,
deteriorating conditions and a lack of sight and
sound separation between youth and adults held
in the jail do not comply with federal mandates.

While nobody will challenge the need for a more
updated facility for women and children who
need to be detained for public safety reasons,
evidence from other localities that have
expanded their jails shows that the addition of
new pretrial correctional facilities frequently
eliminates the public will to reduce the number
of people held in jail, despite the best of intentions. People who now are released either on bail
or on their own recognizance may be locked up
in these facilities in the future because more and
better space is available. And other systems such
as law enforcement may see additional beds as
an invitation to fill them by arresting more people, even when crime is down in the city. This
net-widening process can reduce the effectiveness of the pretrial system; people who do not
need to be incarcerated to ensure court appearance and public safety would do better staying
in the community pretrial so they can maintain
support networks like family, employment and
education. The people who are being held pretrial have not been convicted of the current
offense and should only be held pretrial if there
is a real risk to public safety. Reducing the number of people held in jail while awaiting trial will
save money that can be redirected toward
proven cost-effective public safety strategies,
such as education and treatment for people who
are either involved in—or at risk of becoming
involved in—the criminal justice system.
Baltimore City and the state of Maryland recognize that Baltimore’s criminal justice system
faces a number of challenges and have taken
steps in the right direction. In 1999, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) was
established, which is made up of all of the criminal justice agencies contributing to
incarceration in Baltimore, including the courts,
law enforcement, public defenders and prosecutors, treatment specialists, city administrators
and state corrections officials such as the Commissioner of the Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services. The purpose of the CJCC, which
meets monthly, is to increase collaboration

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

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between all of these agencies to ensure that systems are running effectively and working
towards improving public safety. The CJCC
itself has no authority over these City and State
agencies, but rather facilitates discussions to
make sure that every aspect of the criminal justice system and community is taken into
account when decisions are made.
In addition to being part of the Criminal Justice
Coordinating Council, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
has taken steps toward implementing more
coordination between specific justice agencies in
Baltimore. A number of Kaizens11 held in the
past year are important pieces in this collaborative process. Kaizen, which translates to “change
is good,” resulted in a number of recommendations to streamline the pretrial process in
Baltimore City, some of which will be discussed
later, and all of which should result in a more
streamlined and effective criminal justice

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

process to the benefit of all. But much more still
needs to be done at both the state and local level
to sustainably reduce the number of people
behind bars in Baltimore.
The Justice Policy Institute is issuing this report
to bring attention to the many challenges still
facing the Baltimore criminal justice system and
to offer recommendations on ways to reduce the
number of people involved in this system, specifically the jail. As the largest contributor to the
incarcerated population in the state of Maryland,
it is important that reforms are made in Baltimore to ensure safer communities, reduce prison
and jail populations, reduce costs to the state and
the city and provide fair and equal treatment to
all residents. Reducing the number of people in
the jail and making it easier for people to reenter society after serving time in the jail, will
save money that can be reinvested in effective
community programs that work to support public safety and healthy communities.

Who does what?:
Division of power and responsibility between the City and the State
The criminal justice system in Baltimore is complicated by the fact that the state of Maryland
owns and operates the Baltimore jail through the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services,
where all people arrested in Baltimore are taken for processing and possible pretrial detention.
The segregation of authority and the impact each agency has on the number of people incarcerated in the jail is important to understand when making recommendations for improvement.
All agencies contribute to the number of people in the jail in their own way and all of them can
do something to have a positive impact on the jail population and Baltimore communities.
First, the number of people entering the jail is a result of police practices and policies, which
are often influenced by City administration, and of course the law. Police bring people to the
jail by arresting them, and the courts, including the State’s Attorney’s Office and commissioners, decide who stays in the jail pretrial by setting bail, refusing bail, releasing people on
personal recognizance or releasing without charge. Both the courts and the jail are responsible
for the time it takes to process someone in Central Booking (by law, less than 24 hours), but
once committed, the overall length of stay of people in the jail falls on the courts, as they determine when people go to court.
The jail bears the responsibility of providing safe and humane living conditions for people in
the jail, including services such as medical care and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Administrators at the jail also decide on the physical conditions of how people are
released (with or without personal property and medication, for example) and at what time
they are released. Both Baltimore City and the jail are responsible for re-entry services, which
have an impact on the number of people returning to the jail; more services means fewer people returning to the jail. The Division of Pretrial Detention and Services has the responsibility
of providing services inside the jail, like allowing space for mentoring and other programs. Baltimore City is responsible for providing opportunities and services for people when they are
released to the community. Collaboration between these two agencies and re-entry services
is vital to producing positive results for people leaving the jail. As all agencies play a role in contributing to the jail population, all agencies must work together to reduce the number of people
in the jail while preserving and improving public safety.

Who is responsible?
POLICE
• Enforcement
policies
• Arrests

COURTS
• Pretrial release
decisions
• Court dates
• Diversion
• Processing in
Central Booking

JAIL
• Processing in
Central Booking
• Jail conditions
• Jail services and
programs
• Re-entry

BALTIMORE CITY
• Law
enforcement
policies
• Re-entry
• “Pre-entry”
services like
employment,
education and
communitybased treatment

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

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WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE MARYLAND
TOOK OVER THE BALTIMORE JAIL?
8

>

Summary: Understanding the Baltimore jail’s past can help identify ways to improve
its present untenable situation and identify reforms that will promote effective alternatives to incarceration and reduce its population sustainably in the future. The move
from a city-run jail to a state-funded and operated facility had a significant impact on
the way the criminal justice system worked in Baltimore. And the opening of the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center affected not only the number of people who
could be incarcerated in Baltimore, but how people were booked and treated after
arrest. It also influenced how many people are arrested for what offenses. Unlike the
majority of jails in the country that hold more even percentages of people who are
either pretrial or post-sentencing, the Baltimore jail is a true pretrial facility; nine out
of 10 people in the jail are awaiting trial, compared to about two out of three in the
rest of the country.12 Determining how to reduce the number of people held pretrial in
a safe and effective way can greatly reduce the jail population and associated costs.

The original Baltimore jail was built in the 18th
century and replaced by a new facility in 1802.
This facility was replaced in 1860 and has been
expanded upon ever since.13 Today, the Baltimore
City Detention Center consists of five buildings
and has a capacity of around 4,000 men, women
and children. In 1991, Baltimore City faced both
a court order to reduce its jail population and a
severe budget crisis that led to Governor William
Donald Schaefer asking the state of Maryland to
step in and take over administration of the Baltimore City Jail, which was renamed the Baltimore
City Detention Center.14 One of the provisions of
this takeover was that the State build a centralized
booking facility, which was accomplished in
November 1995 when the Baltimore Central
Booking and Intake Center started accepting people arrested in Baltimore. After the State took
over administration of the jail,15 the handling of
people in the system changed dramatically, in

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

both promising and challenging ways. One challenge related to the separation of authority over
the jail is that when the City is unhappy with
some aspect of the jail’s operations – for instance,
the release process that can result in people being
released in the middle of the night – the City can
exert little pressure for the state facility to change
its practices.

Shift to pretrial detention
With the shift to State management, the purpose
of the jail also shifted: from pretrial detention
and short-term sentences to an almost completely pretrial facility. Prior to the State taking
over the Baltimore jail, people arrested and
incarcerated in Baltimore were treated similarly
to those in other jurisdictions: those held pretrial stayed in the detention facility unless they
could post bail or were released on their own

recognizance, and those who were sentenced by
the court to less than one year typically
remained under City custody in the detention
facility. Those who were sentenced to more than
one year were transferred out of the detention
facility’s jurisdiction to a state-run Division of
Correction prison.
Today, more than 90 percent of the people in the
Baltimore jail are awaiting trial on the current
charge.16 People who are pretrial have not been
found guilty—are legally innocent—yet remain
incarcerated due to any number of factors that
will be explained in more detail later in this report.
Once a person is found guilty and sentenced to
prison, it is policy that if he is sentenced to state
time of more than six months, he is transferred to
a Division of Correction facility. However, for
some people, the administrative task of transfer is
not worth the effort, and they will remain at the
jail until their release. Typically, these are people
who only have a little time left to serve on their
sentence either because they received credit for
time served in the jail pretrial or because they
received a short sentence. This can be dependent
on the capacity of the jail—if it is overcrowded at
the time officials may be more willing to transfer
a person to another facility.
In contrast, most jails around the country will
hold people pretrial and those who receive a
sentence of one year or less. Almost two thirds
(63 percent) of people in jails around the country are pretrial and the rest have already been
convicted.17 So not only is the number of people
held in the Baltimore jail higher than most other
localities, it also holds more people pretrial than
most places, providing a unique opportunity for
reform, as there are more options available for
pretrial release, such as diversion and community supervision.

Change in processing and arrest
practices with the opening of
Central Booking
Resources and processing
The Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center (Central Booking) opened in November
1995 as a state-of-the-art booking facility that
would provide an opportunity to increase coordination among different criminal justice
agencies by increasing their proximity and
information-sharing ability with
up-to-date technology.18 Instead
of booking people
arrested in Baltimore at one of
nine district police
stations or lockups, now all adults are processed
at Central Booking. Prior to the opening of this
facility, each police station or lockup had its own
staff to process people arrested in each district,
and they would typically be held in these lockups for one to two days while awaiting transfer
to the jail if they were not released on recognizance.

More than 90 percent of the
people in the Baltimore jail are
awaiting trial on the current
charge.

One of the benefits of having all people taken to
one place after arrest is that a central location
can increase efficiency and the availability of
services. For example, although adequate
resources are still a challenge for the jail, better
medical and treatment services are available at
Central Booking than there were at each lockup.
In addition, fewer resources are needed to staff
each lockup. The State has also been more willing and able to invest resources into Central
Booking than the City of Baltimore. For example, the state is currently funding an Offender
Case Management System (OCMS) for all of its
correctional facilities, including the Baltimore

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

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jail. When fully operational, the OCMS will
make it easier to keep track of people as they
move through the system from pretrial detention to prison and release, which could help
ensure people in the system who need treatment
and rehabilitative services, receive them.
However, while there were many challenges with
the previous system, such as a need for more
staff and lack of resources, it also had its benefits, including a greater familiarity by local
station personnel with the community and people going through the system. Staff in each
district knew people who were repeatedly
arrested, understood their cases and situations
and were therefore able to make better decisions
about charges and pretrial release, especially in
low-level cases. Arguably, the new system allows
for a more consistent approach to decisionmaking; however, without personal interaction,
it is easy to ignore individual mitigating circumstances.

Arrests
The increase in space that came with the opening of Central Booking also had an impact on
policing and arrests, as it created space to hold
more people; Central Booking has the capacity
to hold around one thousand people, in addition to the 3,000 people in the Detention

“The jail is just the place where the
police drop people off.”
Personal interview, Baltimore City Official, February 3, 2010

Center.19 With the district lockup system there
was a finite amount of space available for police
to hold people arrested in their district. When
the space was filled, people either had to be
released or fewer people needed to be arrested.
This of course was not to say that people with
serious or violent offenses were released or not
arrested solely due to space issues. Instead, it

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

meant that law enforcement and the courts may
have been more discerning in deciding who
should be arrested and detained and who could
be issued a citation or warning,20 possibly resulting in fewer people being arrested and more
people being released without charge or on personal With the opening of Central Booking,
Baltimore police had less incentive to maintain
lower jail populations, as the number of people
detained was no longer their responsibility or
that of their employer, the City of Baltimore. In
the words of one city official, “The jail is just the
place where the police drop people off.”21 In this
way and perhaps more so with the previous
administration than the current one, police were
more willing to arrest people for minor offenses,
leading to more people being processed and
detained.
A few years after the opening of Central Booking, under former Baltimore mayor Martin
O’Malley’s “tough on crime” stance, the Baltimore City Police Department made record
numbers of arrests, many for minor and sometimes frivolous offenses, like loitering and open
container violations.22 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is still in the middle of a
lawsuit surrounding the number of “bad arrests”
by law enforcement in the city.23 In FY2004,
more than 100,000 arrests were processed in
Central Booking.24 Nearly 22 percent—more
than one in five people—arrested were released
without charge.25
Arrest practices are improving under the new
police commissioner as he has made it clear that
he is more interested in arresting people engaging in serious or violent offenses and gun
violations than those engaging in more minor
or “quality of life” offenses, such as loitering or
trespassing. (This is not to say, however, that the
police department is not still arresting people
for quality of life offenses, and this is still happening in some communities more than in
others.) In 2009, under Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III’s command,
the number of arrests processed in Central

Booking fell to around 73,000 and the percentage of people released without charge fell to
around 13 percent.27 In other words, there are
fewer arrests being made and the remaining
arrests are “better” in that they are for offenses
likely to be charged by the State’s Attorney’s
Office.
The total number of arrests in Baltimore City
fell 25 percent from 2004-2009.28 Overall arrests
for violent offenses fell 4 percent during this
time. In 2009, the police made more than 75,000
arrests in Baltimore City, including 975 arrests
for robbery and 1,162 arrests for weapons possession. That year, the police made 802 arrests
for prostitution, 1,591 arrests for larceny and
nearly 24,000 arrests for drug offenses. Not all of
the people arrested are currently incarcerated,
but all of them were taken through Central
Booking and spent up to 24 hours in its custody
before being released or committed to the jail to
await trial. Interestingly, despite the dramatic
drop in the number of arrests processed in Central Booking, the number of people in the jail
facilities in 2009 remained relatively constant, at
about 4,000 people.29 This could be due to a
number of factors that will be discussed later,
including court delays, fewer releases on personal recognizance, a larger percentage of
people arrested for violent offenses and other
reasons.

The overall focus of the Baltimore City Police
Department has changed under Commissioner
Bealefeld’s command, and recent federal community policing (COPS) money has been
allocated in Baltimore to hire 50 new police officers for foot patrols, doubling the capacity of
this patrol. It is the aim of the Police Department that these officers engage more with the
community to help improve public safety and
empower communities. However, as the Police
Department looks to justify maintaining the
higher level of staffing the potential for more
arrests for low-level drug and nonviolent
offenses could be cause for concern, which has
been the case in other jurisdictions that have
increased law enforcement resources.30

“How many more innocent
people have to be handcuffed,
taken to Central Booking, strip
searched, kept in crowded and
filthy cells, and then released
without being charged in order
for justice and the rule of law
to again have meaning for all
Baltimoreans?”
David Rocah, Staff Attorney
for the ACLU of Maryland26

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WHO IS IN THE JAIL?

>

Summary: Nearly 4,000 people are incarcerated in the Baltimore jail system on any
given day. About nine out of 10 of them are pretrial, meaning that they have yet to be
convicted of the offense for which they are being held and are still legally innocent.
The majority of people in the jail are African American men, most of whom are under
the age of 35. About a third of people are accused of violent offenses and 28 percent
are incarcerated for drug offenses. Another 765 people are held on other nonviolent
offenses. Additionally, about 500 people are incarcerated for a violation of probation;
this number has been increasing over the last five years. With about a quarter of the
people incarcerated at the jail being deemed the lowest security level, finding ways to
reduce the number of “low risk” people held could alleviate frequent overcrowding
and the use of “boats” (portable cots often set up in the gymnasium for overflow)
when there are no more available beds. The addition of two new facilities without closing the ones formerly used for women and children will likely result in an increase in the
jail population unless the City works to change its policies around pretrial detention.

The jail is frequently overcrowded.
The Baltimore jail, like many jail facilities across
the country, often operates at greater than 100
percent capacity. The capacities of Central
Booking and the Men’s Detention Center are
895 and at 2,117 respectively. Both of these facilities were above capacity for the majority of
2009.31 The Women’s Detention Center, which
has a capacity of 671 people, was well below
capacity in 2009. Crowding can make it difficult
to ensure humane living conditions and adequate services for people residing in the jail,
most of whom are pretrial and have not been
convicted of the crime for which they are being
detained. The overuse of pretrial detention by
the courts significantly contributes to overcrowding in these facilities.
The average number of people under Division of
Pretrial Detention and Services (DPDS) custody

12

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

(which includes people incarcerated in Central
Booking or the Detention Center or housed outside the jail in residential facilities like Volunteers
of America) has dropped 4 percent over the past
5 years.32 The number of people held at Central
Booking fell 19 percent since 2005, while the
total number of people in the Detention Center
increased 1.2 percent, largely due to the increase
in the number of people being supervised outside the jail in other modes of supervision like
home detention rather than an increase in jail
population (from 234 people in FY2005 to 371
people in FY2009).33
While the vast majority of people are housed
inside either Central Booking or the Detention
Center, about 12 percent of people in custody –
265 men and 33 women—were held outside the
jail at the beginning of 2010.34 These people may
reside with Volunteers of America (VOA),35 be
in a community residential treatment program,

Nearly 90 percent of people in DPDS custody
are housed inside the jail

■ Inside the Baltimore City
Detention Center
0.4%
89.5%

3.8%

■ Volunteers of America
■ Central Home Detention Unit

0.8%

10.5%

0.3%

0.9%

■ Hospital
■ Division of Correction Hospital

1.1%
3.2%

■ Other Jurisdiction
■ Treatment Programs
■ Weekender

Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Daily Population Report, January 4, 2010

serve their time on Saturdays and Sundays
(“weekenders”), be in a Division of Correction
hospital or be part of the Central Home Detention Unit (CDHU).36

The majority of people in the jail
are pretrial.
People incarcerated in the jail can be in one of
three statuses: pretrial, sub curia37 or sentenced.
At the start of 2010, there were 3,642 people in
Division of Pretrial Detention and Services custody; 2,828 in the Detention Center (298 of
these men and women were in custody outside

of the jail facility) and
another 814 in Central Booking. Ninetyone percent of the
people incarcerated
are pretrial, meaning
they have not been
convicted of the current offense, and
another 2 percent are
in sub curia. On any
given day, there are
about 140 people
awaiting
transfer
from the jail to a state
Division of Correction prison.38

A quarter of the people in the jail
are classified as low security.
People committed to the jail are classified into
three groups—low, medium or maximum secu27 percent of the people in the jail are
classified as low security
7%
9%
27%

■ Low
■ Medium
■ Maximum

57%

■ Pending
Classification

9 out of 10 people in the jail
are awaiting trial
Sentenced
7%
Sub Curia
2%

Pretrial
91%

Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Daily Population Report,
January 4, 2010

Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations Briefing
for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, March 2010

rity. This classification is based on an assessment
at intake that reviews their background and current offense to determine their appropriate
placement inside the jail. Each floor and wing of
the jail has a separate designation. As of February 2010, 27 percent of the people incarcerated
in the jail were classified as low security and 9
percent were maximum security.39 Since these
classifications are based on assessments of risk,

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

13

the population classified as low security may be
a good place to start reviewing people who can
be released to the community pending trial with
minimal risk to public safety.

Most of the people in the jail are
under 35 years of age.
As of January 2010 there were 3,152 men in
Central Booking and the Detention Center
combined and 400 women incarcerated in the
Women’s Detention Center (WDC). An additional 90 youth (84 of them boys) were locked
up in the jail. Youth as young as age 14 who are
being tried as adults, primarily for violent
offenses, are held in the jail facility rather than
in a juvenile facility, but they are separated from
the adults. The federal Juvenile Justice Delin-

quency Prevention Act requires that correctional
facilities ensure sight and sound separation of
youth and adults in the jail. As such, the Baltimore jail does this by having separate wings for
these young people being held before trial. This
mandate is also part of the instigation for building the new jail facility for youth, who are
currently housed in small quarters, sometimes
two to a cell.
Girls incarcerated in the Women’s Detention
Center have their own area, which is a dorm-style
room with its own bathroom and laundry facilities. Boys have a wing that consists of two floors
of rows of cells. These youth attend school while
incarcerated; the Eager Street Academy is a Baltimore City Public School District high school that
holds classes in trailers on the jail grounds.

More jail beds for youth will lead to more youth in jail.
One of the two new planned jail facilities will incarcerate youth age 14 and over who are
charged as adults, replacing the previous unit in the Baltimore City Detention Center. At the
beginning of 2010, 90 children were being held in the jail because they are being tried as adults;
but this number has been as high as 140 in recent years.40 While the new juvenile detention
facility may improve living conditions for these youth it will also increase the number of beds for
youth to 180, or 230 at double occupancy,41 despite their being fewer youth in detention than
any time in the last five years. City prosecutors have made it clear that they want to start trying
more children as adults42 even at a time when the Baltimore City Police Commissioner is reporting that juvenile homicides were down 48 percent in Baltimore in 2009.43
A recent report by the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center includes data showing that of
the children who were held in the juvenile unit of the jail in the first six months of 2009, only
5 percent received a sentence of imprisonment in an adult correctional facility after being
detained in the jail for five months or longer while awaiting trial.44 Sixty percent were not even
prosecuted, either because they were transferred to the juvenile system or the State’s Attorney decided not to prosecute the case.
The opening of this new jail facility may give the prosecutors the ability and will to detain more
youth in the jail than they were previously able to due to the increase in beds. A smaller facility with fewer beds can provide the opportunity for Baltimore and the courts to explore
effective alternatives to incarceration rather than a reliance on the jail for youth who are
charged as adults. And fully implementing the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)45
in Baltimore can free up space in the juvenile detention facilities run by the Department of
Juvenile Services for youth who must be detained. Youth who are currently being charged as
adults and detained in the jail may be better served in the juvenile justice system and their
communities; if they must be detained for public safety reasons, a juvenile detention center is
more appropriate.

14

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

The majority of people in the jail are men
Women
10.9%

Juvenile Boys
2.3%
Juvenile Girls
0.2%

Men
86.5%

Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations Briefing for the Criminal Justice
Coordinating Council, March 2010

The majority of people in the jail are
under age 35, with the largest
portion being betwen 18 and 25

ment in certain communities, disproportionate allocation of
resources, disparate treatment by
the courts and lack of quality
defense, amongst other reasons.
The responsibility for alleviating
these disparities falls not only on
criminal justice agencies, but on
society as a whole, and needs to
be addressed appropriately
through both policy and practice
at all levels of government and the
community.

9 out of 10 people in the jail are
African American

51-55 56+
5% 3% 17
3%
46-50
10%
18-21
41-45
2%
14%
22-25
36-40
20%
13%
31-35
12%

26-30
18%

Source: Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010, provided by Division of
Pretrial Detention and Services

White
10%
Other
1%

Black
89%

Source: Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010, provided by Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services

African Americans make up the
largest percentage of the people in
the jail.

Most people in the jail are
incarcerated for drug, property and
technical offenses.

Despite making up only 64 percent of Baltimore
residents, African Americans comprise 89 percent of the people held in the jail; currently
more than 2,900 African American men are
incarcerated in the jail. The reasons for the high
number of African Americans in the jail are
numerous, but studies show that it is not related
to actual behavior differences.46 In cities and
states around the country reasons for the disproportionate number of African Americans in
jail can include policing practices and enforce-

Not everyone who is arrested remains in the jail,
as some are released without charge and others
are released to await trial in the community.
People in the jail are charged with a variety of
different offenses. While offense-type is not the
only, or even the most significant, factor in
whether a person remains incarcerated, some
offenses may yield more jail stays than others.
Of the more than 3,600 people in the jail on January 4, 2010, about 28 percent, or more than
1,000 people, were incarcerated for drug-related

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

15

offenses.47 Forty-four percent, or more than
1,500 people, were locked up for “serious or
felony offenses” and nearly 500 were detained
for violating their probation (VOP).48 More than
50 people were detained for trespassing and
another 26 (all women) for solicitation.
In the past five years, Baltimore law enforcement
officials have increased the number of people
arrested for violent and gun offenses and
decreased the number of people arrested for drug
and other lower level offenses like trespassing and
driving on a suspended license, indicating a shift
in focus to more serious offenses and less quality

of life offenses. In 2005, 25 percent of people in
jail had a violent/person offense as their dominant charge; in 2009, this figure was 31 percent.
Still, there are a significant number of people
detained for offenses that may be better handled
with pretrial community supervision or citations
rather than arrests, including theft, trespassing
and minor drug possession. Additionally, the
number of people detained for technical violations of probation like missing appointments and
failing drug tests increased during this time, a situation that could be addressed through means
other than incarceration while waiting for judgment.

Most people in the jail are charged with nonviolent and drug offenses
Total
Number
(Jan 4, 2010)

CY2005
Average

CY2009
Average

%Change
CY05-CY09

Drugs

1,005

1,532

1,160

-24%

Violent/Person offenses

1,203

1,004

1,218

+21%

Violation of Probation

495

437

596

+36%

Property

301

334

296

-11%

98

129

114

-12%

Handgun Violation

160

120

149

+24%

Failure to Appear

115

107

108

0%

Trespassing

54

53

42

-21%

Driving While License
Revoked or Suspended

34

75

52

-31%

Sex Crimes

30

15

26

+73%

Solicitation

26

65

31

-52%

Other

205

249

251

+1%

3,628

3,991

3,929

-2%

Dominant Charge

Theft

TOTAL

Source: Analysis of Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010, provided by Division of Pretrial Detention and Services

16

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

>
cities, and Maryland is no different. Unlike most local correctional facilities across the
country, the Baltimore jail is funded and run by the State, so all Maryland residents
pay for this facility, including facility and capital costs, staffing, medical and treatment
costs, lawsuits and more. Finding ways to reduce the number of people in the jail
could save Maryland taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

The State of Maryland will spend $97 million on
the Baltimore City Detention Center (Detention
Center) in FY2011 and another $53.6 million on
the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center (Central Booking).49 The Division of Pretrial
Detention and Services (DPDS), which includes
the Baltimore jail and pretrial release services,
consumes about 13 percent of the total Mary-

more’s jail facilities.50 Only 3.5 percent of this
spending goes to the Pretrial Release Services
Program, which supervises people in the community while they await trial.

The total Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services budget increased 74 percent in the last
decade; the Pretrial Release Services Program
spending increased at a much
slower rate—up 46 percent from
FY2001
to FY2011.51 The major90 percent of the Division of Pretrial Dentention and
Services budget goes to the Detention Center and
ity of the increase in spending has
Central Booking
gone to the jail (Central Booking
and the Detention Center), as
incarcerating people in these
32.2%
facilities can be extremely costly.
■ Administration
The Maryland Department of
3.5%
■ Detention Center
Budget and Management esti6%
■ Central Booking
mates that it costs $100 per day to
■ Pretrial Release Services
58.4%
hold
one person in the Detention
Program
Center and $159 per person per
day in Central Booking.52 In comparison, providing pretrial release
Source: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, FY 2011 Proposed Operating Budget Detail,
Volume II, Public Safety and Correctional Services (Annapolis, MD: Maryland Department of Budget and
services in the community costs
Management, 2010) http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Documents/2011/Proposed/pubsafcor.pdf
7 significantly less. JPI researchers
estimate that costs of the Pretrial
land Department of Public Safety and
Release Services Program at only $2.50 per perCorrectional Services budget ($1.3 billion).
son per day.53 Releasing more people to pretrial
Ninety percent of DPDS’ budget goes to Baltisupervision, where people can maintain ties in

HOW MUCH DOES MARYLAND SPEND
ON THE BALTIMORE JAIL SYSTEM?

Summary: Prisons and jails can be some of the largest expenses for states and

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

17

the community, will reduce the number of people in these facilities; this in turn can have lasting
cost savings benefits to Maryland. Moving just
1,000 people from the Detention Center to the
Pretrial Release Services Program for 30 days,
which is the average amount of days until trial,
could save Maryland $2.92 million per month.54

Pretrial detention in Baltimore is far more costly than
pretrial supervision in the community

Average cost per person per day

$200

The increase in spending at the jail has not been
equally distributed across services that benefit
people incarcerated there. Despite the estimated
2,500 people in the Baltimore jail with a substance abuse problem,55 funding for substance
abuse services in the jail fluctuated over the last
10 years, and did not keep pace with the rate of
general spending for the Detention Center or the number of people incarcerated.
The Maryland budget allowance for substance abuse services in FY2011 is
$398,655, down about $10,000 from just
two years ago.56

$159

While treatment in the community is still
more effective and less expensive than
treatment in a correctional facility,57 providing quality treatment in the jail does
still impart a public safety benefit and
could be an effective tool for reducing
recidivism. Prioritizing funding for these
services may lead to fewer people incarcerated in the long run, resulting in fewer
costs. And people who are able to overcome substance abuse problems may be
better able to become productive, taxpaying members of their communities,
an additional economic benefit.

$150

$100

$100

$50
$2.50
$0
Baltimore Central
Booking and Intake
Center

Baltimore City
Detention Center

P t i lR
l
Pretrial
Release
Services Program

Source: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, FY 2011 Proposed Operating Budget Detail, Volume II,
Public Safety and Correctional Services (Annapolis, MD: Maryland Department of Budget and Management,
2010) http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Documents/2011/Proposed/pubsafcor.pdf

$100,000

$92,294

$80,000
$60,000
$40,000

$399
$52,359

$400
$300
$200

$233
Detention Center Expenditures

$20,000

Substance Abuse Services

$100

$0

$0
2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Fiscal Year
Source: Maryland Budget Books, FY02-FY11, http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Pages/OperatingBudget.aspx

18

$500

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Substance Abuse Expenditures
(in thousands)

Funding for substance abuse services has not increased
at the same pace as funding for the Detention Center

>
The Booking Process
A person arrested by a police officer in Baltimore is given a bar-coded wristband and is
taken to Central Booking.58 At Central Booking,
he is screened for medical or mental health conditions that would prevent him from
withstanding the possible 24 hour booking
process;59 those that do not receive a wristband
by the arresting officer are provided one based
upon the booking type. If he has a medical issue
that must be taken care of immediately, he is
taken to a nearby hospital by the arresting officer until he is well enough to return to Central
Booking for processing. If he has a severe mental health problem that may make it difficult for
him to withstand the booking process, he will
not be accepted into Central Booking and will
be returned to the arresting officer and possibly
sent to a local emergency room or mental health
institution.

In 2007, then 22-year-old Michelle* was arrested
after getting into a fight with another young
woman and taken to Central Booking. She didn’t know it at the time, but she would be
spending the next nine months in jail awaiting
trial. After arriving in Central Booking, Michelle
was placed in a cold, crowded cell with more
than 10 other women to go through the process
of booking. There wasn’t enough room for everyone to sit, so many women were standing or
sitting on the floor. Women were vomiting on
the floor or in the one toilet in the cell and others were trying to sleep by leaning on the
stranger next to them. Michelle recounts feeling
anticipation every time she was moved along to
a different part of the booking process, such as
fingerprinting or seeing the commissioner, just
because she wanted to get out of that cell. She
spent almost 24 hours in Central Booking that
day. When she finally saw the commissioner he
was “rude” and “had an attitude.” Michelle was
not offered bail. The realization set in that she
was not going to be released from the jail that
day, or any day soon.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE
IS ARRESTED IN BALTIMORE?

Summary: Criminal justice processes vary in each city, county and state and can
sometimes be confusing to both those in the system and people studying it. Understanding the process of booking, pretrial detention or release, court and sentencing
is important for identifying where in a system changes could be made to make the
process more efficient and fair. Baltimore’s Central Booking and Intake Center is a
unique facility. Since everyone arrested in Baltimore is booked at this location, understanding what happens when a person is arrested and brought to this facility, from
the point where they walk in the door to pretrial release or court, is critical when determining where system reforms are most needed.

*Michelle’s name has been changed to ensure her privacy. Michelle was personally interviewed by the author of this report.
JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

19

20

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Commitment

Sent back
to housing
unit

Court

Sally port
at Central
Booking

Police
car

Release

Bail review
hearing

Medical
and mental
health
screening

Moved to
general
population

Custodial
search

Intake
process

Booking
and
property

Commitment

Finger
printing
and picture

Release
if bail
is made

Secon
phone call

First phone
call

What happens when someone is arrested in Baltimore?

Bail review
hearing set

Initial
appearance

Release

After the person completes the initial screening,
he is moved to a bench on the wall to wait for a
search and is advised that he is allowed one layer
of clothing and that his personal items will be
inventoried into “regular”, “valuable”, “cash” and
“identification” property types. Next is a custodial search where he will surrender his belongings
and is searched for contraband such as weapons
and drugs. Staff provides him with a property
receipt for the inventory and both parties sign an

acknowledgement. He is then handcuffed and
chained to the wall next to a booking station and
waits to be seen by the booking agent. The agent
conducts a booking interview, and he provides
the agent with his personal information and
hands over his property for storage for the
remainder of the process. He is then moved to
another area for positive identification via livescan technology—electronic fingerprinting and
digital photograph (mugshot) for his file. This

Meanwhile, downstairs in the charging room…
While people are upstairs being booked, the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) is busy reviewing
cases downstairs. As of 2000, the SAO charges people arrested with the crimes, whereas previously it was the arresting officer. The SAO staffs the “charging room” 24 hours a day, seven
days a week and decides what charge is appropriate based on the police report and whether
people should be charged based on the offense and likelihood of conviction. If the SAO
decides to charge someone, they ask the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services (DPDS) to
build a file for the person by checking their criminal history to see if they have any outstanding
warrants or detainers, if they are on parole or probation or if they are tagged for the Violence
Prevention Initiative (VPI). (See text box on page 41.)
Once the case is adequately reviewed, the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) can choose to make
a recommendation to the commissioner for release or a certain bail amount based on the
charges and criminal history. The SAO can also charge someone with an offense without making bail or release recommendations to the commissioner. Finally, the SAO may choose not to
charge someone with the arrested offense. In some cases, such as open container violations,
urinating in public and disorderly conduct cases, the SAO may determine that an offense is
“abated by arrest,” meaning that the arrest itself was sufficient to stop the act, and may
release the person after he is booked and his record is clean of any outstanding warrants.
If the individual has a VPI tag or is flagged for their offense or criminal history, the SAO may
decide to review the case in the “War Room” before making a recommendation to the commissioner. The aim of the War Room is to carefully review the cases of people involved in
violent or serious offenses to make more informed decisions as to their safe release to the
community pretrial. The Inter-Agency War Room Coordination Project started in 2004 and is a
multi-agency effort to identify people with a history of violent behavior who are arrested in Baltimore. The Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, the Division of Parole and Probation,
the Baltimore City Police Department and the State’s Attorney’s Office are all involved in the
War Room review process.
From October 1 to December 31, 2009 the War Room reviewed 15,234 people arrested in Baltimore City, 748 of whom were considered “Violent Repeat Offenders” or VROs.61 Of these
people, the SAO made 646 (86 percent) bail recommendations (which may include a bail
amount or a recommendation not to offer bail) to the commissioner.62 In the other 14 percent
of cases, the SAO did not make a recommendation and the pretrial release decision was left
up to the commissioner.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

21

process is done every time he is arrested, regardless of frequency. If he is arrested for certain
offenses, mostly violent or burglary offenses, he
also has his DNA collected through saliva.60 He
then receives his first opportunity to make a
phone call and is placed in a holding cell with
other people awaiting a meeting with the on-site
District Court Commissioner.
When the on-site District Court Commissioner
calls for the person being booked to attend the
initial appearance hearing, he is staged accordingly in one of four separate rooms where the
commissioner sits behind glass. At this initial
appearance hearing, the commissioner reviews
the current charge(s), the factual allegations,
potential sentence, criminal history report and
the State’s Attorney’s Office’s (SAO) recommendation, if provided, and shares this information
with the person who was arrested. This hearing
is the first opportunity for the person arrested
to plead his case before a judicial officer of the
court and occurs within 24 hours of arrest. The
initial appearance typically only includes the
commissioner and the person awaiting decision.63 The commissioner may ask about the
person’s family, residence and employment
background and might ask about his ability to
afford bail.64
The ultimate decision of pretrial release is up to
the commissioner, taking into account all provided information in the case file and any
recommendations from the SAO and is often
based on the person’s responses and demeanor in
the hearing. At this time the commissioner will
advise him to seek legal counsel if the charges are
not dropped or declined by the SAO. The commissioner can release someone without charge
following the SAO’s decision, release him on personal recognizance or choose to set bail or not
offer bail, thereby requiring pretrial detention.
Initial hearings typically last just a few minutes.
Once a person is charged, he leaves the room
and is afforded another phone call; this call is
often used to request money for bail, ask for

22

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

pickup when released or to call a lawyer. If he is
released without charge or on personal recognizance or makes bail and has no detainers65 or
other holds, he is moved to another set of cells
near the release office to wait for the file to be
processed and for his property to be released. If
he receives a “no bail” amount, meaning that he
is not offered release through a bail bond, or if
he cannot post bail due to a lack of funds, he is
committed to await the bail review hearing and
receives another phone call.66

By law, all people must be booked
within 24 hours.
The entire booking process typically takes
around 18 hours on average,67 but can be as
short as four or five hours for simple cases with
no outstanding warrants or records where the
SAO declines to charge, or as long as 24 hours.
The booking processing times vary based on a
number of factors, including but not limited to
how many people need to be booked and the
availability of allied agencies like the prosecutors
and the courts that provide the necessary
resources to ensure timely processing. By law, all
people must be booked within 24 hours.
Someone committed to the jail goes through the
intake process, which includes a strip search,
shower, admissions kit and bed assignment and
are taken to general population or specialized
housing as deemed necessary. Here he is also
assessed for security level and program assignments by a Classification Unit Officer. People
who are classified as “high risk” based on their
offense, criminal history and other factors may
be housed in the protective custody unit. People
with serious health needs are moved to the medical infirmary units, and people recommended
to drug treatment by the judge are sent to a separate treatment wing that will be discussed later.
Pregnant women who are to stay in custody
pending trial are housed in the maternity dorm
once they reach the third trimester.

The person next appears before a reviewing judge
via video broadcast within 24 hours or the next
court session (court is closed on weekends). He
has the option of having counsel, often a public
defender (who has an office inside Central Booking), at his bail review hearing. The purpose of
the bail review hearing is to review the initial bail
set by the commissioner and allow the person
being charged the opportunity to provide information that might argue either for outright
release or a lower bail amount. There is also an
opportunity at this stage for the court, prosecutor, lawyer, family of the individual and Pretrial
Investigators to present information to increase
or decrease the bail amount or recommend
release on recognizance.
Pretrial Investigators work under the Pretrial
Release Services Program of the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services. As soon as a person
is charged, these investigators begin the process
of verifying and gathering information. They
investigate all people awaiting proceedings in the
courts and provide the judges with verified

information regarding the person’s ties to the
community and special problems such as alcoholism, substance abuse or residential placement
needs. They may speak with families, employers
and community members about the person
being charged to garner information that may be
helpful in making recommendations to the
courts regarding pretrial release or detention.
If the person is not released or cannot make bail
after this hearing, he is committed to the general
jail population to await trial, which can mean
either the Detention Center or Central Booking,
depending on population levels. The process of
booking and moving someone to the general
population usually takes about seven to 14 days
from the time of arrest, but can also be longer,
depending on the number of people in the jail.
If there is no room in the Detention Center,
people may stay in one of the three towers of
Central Booking until trial, and perhaps longer
if they receive a short sentence that would not
warrant a transfer to the Detention Center or to
a Division of Correction prison.

Debate: Should people have lawyers available at the initial
appearance hearing?
Although not required by law, some counties allow lawyers to assist people at their initial hearing before the commissioner.81 A class action, right-to-counsel lawsuit has been filed under
Richmond v. District Court to allow people to have counsel at initial appearance hearings, but
no decision has been made by the court at the time of this publication. In addition to the constitutional issues surrounding whether people are entitled to a lawyer at the initial hearing, the
current debate is also related to logistics: how many resources would be consumed by providing counsel at this stage, would it be cost-effective for Baltimore City to provide this service,
and what kind of difference would it really make in terms of individual outcomes of people
who go before the commissioner and the number of people in the jail? Also, how much additional pretrial investigative staff and funding would be needed, and how much extra time would
people be held in Central Booking while waiting for the process? These questions are still
awaiting answers and if the resolution results in a change in policy it may have an impact on
the number of people who are detained pretrial in the jail.
JPI has not completed an analysis of this practice or reviewed whether other states or localities provide lawyers at initial appearance hearings for this report. Baltimore courts should
thoroughly review this policy and compare it to other jurisdictions to see if providing counsel
could positively impact the number of people in the jail.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

23

HOW DO PRETRIAL PROCESSES AND POLICIES
AFFECT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN JAIL?
24

>

Summary: Pretrial detention and release policies affect not only the number of people who are in the jail at any given time but also the outcomes of individual cases and
ultimately, the jail and prison populations in Maryland. Increasingly, people awaiting
trial are held in the jail until their court date rather than released to await trial in the
community. Today, more than half of the people who arrive at the jail after being
arrested are committed to the jail to await trial. A number of factors are considered
when deciding whether to release someone pretrial and what bail amounts to offer, if
any. Another set of factors play a part in who is able to post bail to be released, including the use of commercial bail bondsmen. As all of these pieces factor into the
number of people incarcerated in the jail, it is important that the courts review their
pretrial release policies to make sure that the least restrictive methods of pretrial
supervision are being used to ensure court appearance and public safety.

At a person’s initial appearance, the District
Court Commissioner has four options:
• release the person without charge if the
State’s Attorney’s Office decides not to
prosecute;
• release the person on their own recognizance, meaning that he is still being
charged with the offense but will await
trial in the community without a bail
requirement;
• set a bail amount for pretrial release; or
• not offer bail, resulting in the person
being held in the jail pretrial.

In the last five years, the number of people
processed in Central Booking dropped 23 percent. Of the people who are booked, around 33
percent are released on personal recognizance,
and about half of all people are committed to
the jail to await trial.70 The number and percentage of people released without charge has
dropped rather dramatically, from 22 percent in
FY2005 to around 14 percent in FY2009. This
drop could be for a number of different reasons,
including a change in focus of the police department that directs resources toward more serious
offenses.

The decision to release someone pretrial is based
on two main criteria: the likelihood that the person will return for trial68 and whether he is a
threat to public safety.69 A third but not as frequent consideration involves the likelihood that
the person will interfere with witnesses or victims in the case.

More than half of the people
who arrive at the jail after
being arrested are committed
to the jail to await trial.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

non-refundable fee
for this service.) The
The percentage of people being released without charge has
money is refunded
fallen since FY2005 while the total number of bookings fell
by the court if they
100%
return for their trial;
if they don’t return,
44,870
45,215
37,744
43,440
42,893
80%
(47%)
the person or entity
(47%)
(53%)
(52%)
(52%)
posting the bond is
60%
liable for the full (100
percent) amount of
20,612
11,323
9,811
19,714
40%
13,869
the bail. A person can
(22%)
(14%)
(14%)
(21%)
(17%)
also use property to
20%
post bail if the prop24,314
26,711
29,179
27,824
28,831
(34%)
(32%)
(31%)
(34%)
(31%)
erty value, less any
0%
mortgages or liens,
FY2005
FY2006
FY2007
FY2008
FY2009
has a value greater
■ Release on recognizance ■ Release without charge ■ Commitment
than or equal to that
of the total bail. In
*Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
the case of small bail
amounts ($2,500 or
less) a person can
post a cash bail of 10 percent without a bail bond
or
collateral.
In FY2009, more than half the 73,326
people booked were committed to
the jail

Release on
recognizance
33.2%

Release
without
charge
13.4%

Commitment
51.5%

Over the last five years, bail amounts have been
steadily increasing, making it more difficult for
more people to afford bail-secured pretrial
release. The number of people being held for
“low bails” ($5,000 or less) fell 31 percent over
the last 5 years, despite a relatively stable jail
population.71 At the start of 2010, 30 percent of
people were incarcerated on single “high bail
More than half of the people in the jail
were not offered bail

Source: Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

43
1%

■ No bail (NB)

276
8%

Bail has a significant impact on the
number of people in jail.
Bail is an amount of money that a judge may
require be paid to the courts to gain pretrial
release. Usually courts require 10 percent of the
total bail amount in cash for someone to be
released if the person has a surety bond posted
for the total amount. (Bail bondsmen charge a

1,033
30%

335
10%

■ 2 or more bail amounts

1,741
51%

■ Single bail amount of
$5,001 or greater
■ Single bail amount of $5,000
or less but with a detainer
■ Single bail of $5,000 or less
and no detainer

Source: Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

25

amounts” of $5,001 or more, while 8 percent of
people were being held on “low bail” amounts
of $5,000 or less with no detainers.72 At the start
of the year, 276 people were residing in the jail

because they could not post a low bail amount
of $5,000 or less. At the same time, more than
half (51 percent) of the people in custody were
not offered bail on at least one of their charges.73

How is bail decided?
“Financial conditions other than unsecured bond should be imposed only when no other
less restrictive condition of release will reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance
in court. The judicial officer should not impose a financial condition that results in the
pretrial detention of the defendant solely due to an inability to pay.”
American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section Standards, Standard 10-5.3(a)

Initial bail amounts are set by District Court Commissioners in Central Booking, sometimes following recommendations by the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO). Court commissioners are
appointed by the Administrative Court Judge and receive training on the process, but are not
required to be lawyers or have any sort of certification or background in criminal justice.74 The
judge makes the ultimate decision on bail during the bail review hearing, but the commissioner
has the initial ability to release someone on personal recognizance or set a bail amount. While in
some cases the commissioner’s decision is influenced by the State’s Attorney’s recommendation, she is not required to accept these recommendations. Statistics show that during the bail
review, the judge changes the decision of the commissioner in less than a fourth of the cases.75
In other words, commissioners bear the primary responsibility for deciding who is released on
personal recognizance, who receives bail or who is held without bail.
Commissioners are given a case file for each person who comes before them who has been
charged with a crime. This file should include a criminal history report with any outstanding
cases or warrants and the current offense information. The commissioner may ask the person
a number of questions in the initial hearing that will supplement the information in the file and
help her determine the appropriate release option, including the person’s ability to pay. But the
commissioner is not required to take into account all information in the file and can base her
decision on a number of different factors.
As there is currently no standard that regulates the bail amount a person receives for any given
offense, identifying which offense typically receives which bail amount is impossible. For
example, shoplifting charges do not always carry the same bail amount. It seems logical that
bail amounts would be higher for more serious offenses, but this is not necessarily the case,
and arguments can be made both for and against this blanket practice. Research from the
Department of Justice on jails across the country shows that African Americans and Latinos
receive higher bail amounts than whites, indicating possible disparate treatment by judges
when setting bail.76 However, this study did not distinguish between offense types. Considering all of the different factors that the courts must consider when deciding whether to set
bail, looking at each case on an individual basis before making the decision can be an appropriate practice when administered fairly.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Data from the Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services shows that there are still people
detained for low level offenses and on low bail
amounts in the Baltimore jail. As of February
17, 2010 about half of the people in jail, almost
1,800 people, were not offered bail and therefore
will remain in the jail until their court date.77
Seventy six people in the jail had total bail
amounts (single or multiple bails) adding up to
$1,000 or less with no detainers, such as outstanding warrants, or additional charges that
were not offered bail. These 76 people are
charged with offenses like trespassing, theft,
driving on a suspended license, prostitution,
failure to pay child support, minor drug charges
and violations of probation. People are most
likely to remain incarcerated on these low bail
offenses because they do not have the small
amount of money necessary to secure their
release.
People living in impoverished communities are
the most likely to find that money bail is beyond
their financial capacity. The Pretrial Release
Project at the University of Maryland (UMD)
conducted a study of bail review hearings in five
Maryland counties, including Baltimore City,
and found that 75 percent of people who were
expected to pay a bond believed it would be
“very difficult” or “difficult” to provide the
money; and 70 percent of respondents indicated
that by paying bail they would be unable to
afford other important costs like rent, utilities or
groceries.78
Because even a short stint in jail can disrupt a
person’s employment, education and housing
and exacerbate existing health problems (or create new ones), it is essential that people are
moved through the system and released in a
timely manner. According to the UMD study,
for those surveyed who could not post bail, their

incarceration meant that 25 percent would lose
their job and 40 percent would lose their
home.79 A study by the Center for Poverty Solutions found that while 63 percent of homeless
people in Baltimore owned or rented a house
prior to their incarceration, only 30 percent had
permanent housing when released.80

On February 17, 2010, 76 people were
in jail on bail amounts of $1,000 or less
Total Bail Amount*

Number of
people in jail

$100-250
$251-500
$501-1,000
$1,001-2,500
$2,501-5,000
$5,001-7,500
$7,501-10,000
$10,001-15,000
$15,001-25,000
$25,001-50,000
$50,001-75,000
$75,001-100,000
$100,001-250,000
$250,001-500,000
$500,001-750,000
$750,001-1,000,000
$1,000,001 +
NO BAIL
Detainer**

25
18
33
61
127
45
75
54
109
217
89
102
190
104
28
13
3
1,791
223

Total number of people pretrial
Sentenced
Total number of people in jail

3,307
257
3,564

*Total bail amount may include multiple bails for that one person. People who
have multiple charges, one of which has a NO BAIL set, will be included in
the NO BAIL number, not the other bail amounts.
**Detainers are when a person is being held by another jurisdiction or agency.
People who were being held pretrial and had detainers were included in the
Detainer total not under individual bail amounts, but were included in the sentenced category if they were already sentenced.
Source: Jail Daily Extract, February 17, 2010

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

27

Debate: Should Baltimore abolish commercial bail?
The commercial bail industry is made up of private, for-profit entities that collectively and individually have significant influence in the pretrial detention-release decision process.82 People
in jail hire bail bondsmen when they cannot afford to post bail. The person in jail, or someone
on his behalf, pays a bail bondsman a non-refundable fee—at least 10 percent of the bail
amount—and the bondsman will post bail for them with the commissioner. It is the bondsman’s decision who he takes on as a client, as it is his money at risk if the person does not
return to court. By law, if the person does not return for their court date or within a 90 day
grace period, the 10 percent in cash and the 90 percent collateral posted for release by the
bondsman belongs to the court. In action, however, this is rarely the case. In fact, statistics
show that bondsmen only pay about 5 percent of the bond when one of their clients doesn’t
show up to court.83 Courts in states like California and New Jersey are owed hundreds of millions of dollars by bail bonding companies.84
The bail bond industry’s lobby has been able to stop legislation in Maryland that would more
closely regulate its business. Indeed, bondsmen have worked to overturn legislation that would
require judges to let people know that they didn’t need a bail bond to post a 10 percent bail if
the bail amount was $2,500 or less. They strongly oppose any alternative pretrial release programs that rely on mechanisms other than money bail to ensure people return to court, as this
would hurt their profits.85 Even when judges in Maryland offer people a 10 percent refundable
cash bond from the courts for low bail amounts, bail bondsmen are still being used to pay this
amount, undermining the whole reason for offering this option. If bondsmen were actually
ensuring that people appeared in court, this may not be as much of an issue; however this is
not the case.
Evidence suggests that the court system is compensating for commercial bail bonding practices by setting higher bails. A recent National Public Radio series on the bail industry found
that nationally, likely due to the commercial bail business and the ease with which some people can get out of jail with a bondsman’s help, judges tend to set bail at rates as much as 10
times higher than the amount they believe people can afford to pay a bail bondsman. For
instance, if a judge thinks $1,000 is likely to bring a person back to court, he will set bail at
$10,000.86 The result of such a system is that poor people remain in jail, while people with
more assets are released to await trial in the community. People with less money at their disposal often cannot afford to post bail themselves (despite having the money refunded when
they attend court), or even afford to pay a bail bondsman the 10 percent non-refundable fee
needed for them to post their bail. The problem of bail inflation further puts poor people at a
disadvantage because they may be less likely to have a lawyer or know their rights around bail.

28

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

As it stands now, bail bondsmen are the de facto decision makers on who is released from
jail. Eliminating commercial bail in Baltimore may lead to more fair and effective release practices. People who receive high bail amounts due to the seriousness of their offense may be
more likely to remain incarcerated, while people with lower level offenses who previously
could not afford the bondsman’s nonrefundable fee may be released, freeing up jail space and
allowing people to maintain employment and community connections while awaiting trial. Eliminating commercial bail would level the playing field for people whose bails are set by the
courts and may lead the courts to lower bail amounts, knowing that people must come up with
the money or collateral on their own. This way the courts, not a private, for-profit company,
would decide who is released and who remains incarcerated prior to trial.
In addition, other ways exist besides money bail to ensure people make their court appearances. Research does not support the commercial bail industry’s assertion that money bail is
the most effective way to ensure a person’s return to court. In addition to examining whether
the commercial bail industry should be dismantled, states such as Maryland should consider
whether money bail itself is a system that should be minimized or scrapped altogether.
Due to the corruption often involved in commercial bail, which Baltimore has seen its share
of,87 four states have already eliminated it completely—Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin.

•

Illinois set a precedent for other states with its automatic 10 percent cash alternative. This option allows people to post 10 percent of the bail in cash, but directly with
the court instead of a bail bondsman. Maryland now only allows this for low bail.

•

Kentucky passed a series of laws in the 1970s regulating and then eliminating commercial bail practices because of corruption and violent incidents involving bounty
hunters.

•

Oregon followed suit in 1973 after the discovery of a kickback scheme in which jail
officials were paid off by bail bondsmen to gain quicker access to people in jail.

•

Wisconsin eliminated commercial bail in the late 1970s, replacing the practice with
a more effective pretrial release system. This system forces judges to consider people’s ability to afford bail, and to set financial bail only when extremely necessary.
States like Wisconsin that have developed alternative pretrial release programs rely on
recognizance and unsecured collateral bonds instead of commercial bail.88

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

29

People can be safely released
pretrial and without bail.
The Pretrial Release Services Program (PRSP),
which is a part of the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, currently supervises around
1,100 people daily who are referred by the judge
for community-based supervision in Baltimore.89 Not everyone released pretrial will be
under supervision. This program monitors people to ensure that they go to court and follow the
terms assigned by the judge, which may include
things like drug treatment and regular meetings
with their pretrial agent. Of over 50,000 people
screened annually, the Pretrial Release Services
Program supervises and monitors approximately
six or seven thousand of them for whom the
court orders pretrial release. At trial or in subsequent proceedings, the pretrial agent reports to
the court on the person’s compliance with the
terms of pretrial release. These compliance
reports are used for sentencing decisions and, in
some instances, plea bargaining negotiations.
The Pretrial Release Services Program has a very
high success rate as measured by the percentage
of people under their supervision who make
their court date. Ninety four percent of people
who are under the supervision of this program

96% of people under pretrial release
supervision will NOT be arrested on
new charges while awaiting trial

4%

96%

show up for court; this percentage is significantly higher than the national average of 88
percent.90 In addition, just 4 percent of people
under supervision will be arrested on a new
charge while awaiting trial, compared to 18 percent nationally.91
Pretrial release supervision is a common practice
across the country, with many localities expanding and improving upon these services due to
overcrowding and excessive spending on their
correctional facilities. Supervising someone in the
community through the Pretrial Release Services
Program is considerably less expensive than keeping them incarcerated in the jail ($2.50 versus
$100 per day, respectively).92 Pretrial supervision
also provides a number of advantages over incarceration:
•

•

Supervision protects the public by
reducing the risk that people under
supervision will engage in illegal behavior.
Supervision gives pretrial officers the
means to enforce conditions ordered by
the court, such as those requiring persons to perform community service or
seek treatment.

94% of people under pretrial release
supervision will NOT fail to appear
for their scheduled court date

■ Percent of
people under
PRSP supervision
arrested on
new charges
■ Percent of
people under
PRSP supervision
NOT arrested on
new charges

6%

94%

■ Percent of
people under
PRSP supervision
who fail to appear
for their scheduled
court date
■ Percent of
people under
PRSP supervision
who do NOT fail to
appear for their
scheduled court date

Source: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, FY2011 Operating Budget, Budget Book, Volume II, Public Safety and Correctional Services, pages 676-677.
(Annapolis, MD: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010) http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Pages/OperatingBudget.aspx

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

•

•

•

•

•

Supervision may provide referrals for
substance abuse treatment for people
who need it.
As an alternative to incarceration,
supervision allows people to live with
their families, hold jobs and be productive members of society.
Supervision may provide referrals for
mental health treatment to people who
need it while awaiting trial and reduces
the decompensation that many people
with mental illnesses experience during
incarceration.
Supervision may provide referrals for
educational or vocational training that
boosts people’s capacity to earn a living.93
Supervision can demonstrate to a judge
that a person will be able to stay in the
community without engaging in illegal
behavior, possibly making it more likely
that they will receive a sentence of probation over incarceration.

Court date notification systems can
be an effective tool for reducing the
number of people who don’t show up
to court.
People can miss their court date for myriad reasons that are unrelated to an unwillingness to
appear, ranging from lack of transportation,
being unsure what is expected of them or just
plain forgetfulness. The Pretrial Release Services
Program has been effective in reducing the
number of failures to appear (FTA) for people
under its supervision, but for the thousands of
people who are released pretrial without supervision, FTAs may still be a challenge without a
reminder of court date. People kept in jail for
FTAs are not generally considered to be a risk to
public safety and keeping them in detention is a
drain of public resources (the Baltimore jail currently holds over 100 people whose most serious
charge is failure to appear).94 Other localities
have successfully implemented court date noti-

fication systems that may be even more costeffective than the Pretrial Release Services
Program and show promising results.
Multnomah County, Oregon—
Court Appearance Notification System
Beginning in May of 2005, the Multnomah
County, Oregon Circuit Court began implementing an automated dialing system called the
Court Appearance Notification System (CANS)
to remind people to appear at their court dates
with the aim toward reducing failures to appear
(FTA) at court hearings. With CANS, a computer system calls people up to three times
before each hearing and a 30-second, prerecorded message reminds them of the time,
date and location of their court appearance. In
the first two years of the program alone, failures
to appear in Multnomah
County
dropped from 29 to
16 percent, representing a nearly 45
percent decrease in
the number of people who didn’t show
up for court.95 The
program, which was allotted $40,000 in funding
when launched in 2005, is estimated to save up
to $6.4 million worth of staff time each year.

The Court Appearance
Notification System is
estimated to save up to
$6.4 million worth of
staff time each year.

Jefferson County, Colorado—
Court Date Notification Program
In 2005, the Jefferson County, Colorado Criminal Justice Strategic Planning Committee
launched a ten-week pilot project in which a
staff person calls those facing traffic or misdemeanor charges to remind them of their court
dates.96 The caller in the Court Date Notification
Program not only provides reminders of court
dates and notifies people who failed to appear
(FTA) of their resulting warrants, but also fields
questions from callers that would normally go
to court clerks, gives directions, looks up other
court information, forwards calls to other
appropriate agencies, and generally allays the
fears of people who may be intimidated by the

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

31

criminal justice system. She is also able to help
identify people who are already incarcerated to
report to the courts so that an FTA warrant is
not issued, saving court resources. The pilot
program resulted in a 43 percent reduction in
the failure to appear rate and was so effective
that the planning committee approved the creation of a permanent program. In its first six
months, the program reduced the FTA rate of
the targeted population from 23 to 11 percent.
Approximately 425 FTA warrants were avoided
in this six month period as a direct result of the
program and saved judges, clerks and police
officers over 1,100 hours of work.
Jefferson County’s evaluation of the program
showed that direct contact with the person
going to court led to FTA rates as low as 7 percent, compared to the national average of 12
percent.97 These numbers demonstrate the
importance of getting accurate contact information from people, calling during appropriate
hours and expanding the program to include
more live callers. Given the program’s early success with limited resources, the Criminal Justice
Strategic Planning Committee estimates that a
fully staffed program has the potential to reduce
the number of FTA warrants by 3,100 per year.
While cost estimates are not available for implementing these programs in Baltimore, it is
evident that in these two counties the benefits
outweigh the costs of such programs. Using a
similar system could reduce the number of people who fail to appear in court simply by serving
as a reminder. This would in turn reduce the
amount of time that judges spend issuing bench
warrants and law enforcement spends looking
for people with outstanding FTA warrants.
Finally, it would reduce the number of people in
the jail who are being held without bail because
they have an FTA on their record.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Increasing lengths of stay are
contributing to overcrowding in
the jail.
Court dates are typically set around 30 days after
arrest but can be as far away as 120 days or more
depending on the offense, especially if it is a
felony charge; if a person is committed to the jail
and doesn’t post bail he could be there for at
least a month awaiting trial and likely even
longer. In addition, postponements of court
dates, which will be discussed in more detail
later in the report, are relatively frequent and
can add months and sometimes years to a person’s pretrial jail time.
The average length of stay for people in the jail is
38 days; this number has increased over the last
five years, up from 33 days in 2005.98 This average length of stay includes people who are
released within a few hours from Central Booking and people who spend more than two years
under jail custody. This increase in the length of
stay may not seem like much, but when five
extra days are added to the tens of thousands of
people who cycle through the jail, costs accumulate quickly. If the 37,744 commitments to
the jail last year each stayed on average 5 fewer
days at $100 per day, Maryland taxpayers would
save over $18.8 million.99 Additionally, this
increase in length of stay may be a contributing
factor in why the number of people in jail has
remained constant despite the drop in arrests.
A number of changes to policies and practices
in the jail system could have a positive impact
on the number of people held in the Baltimore
jail, the costs associated with pretrial detention
and the outcomes of people who are charged
with an offense.

Recommendations:
1. Identify low-risk people at the start.
The State’s Attorney’s Office should
review low-level arrests in addition to
more serious ones and make recommendations on pretrial release.
Identifying people early in the process
who can be safely released pretrial can
help reduce the number of people in
the jail.
2. Expand pretrial release options outside of money bail. Baltimore should
identify and implement means other
than money bail to increase the number
of people released to await trial in the
community. As money bail discriminates
against people with fewer resources and
contributes to less people being
released despite being low-risk to public
safety, examining alternatives to money
bail could result in more effective practices that reduce both failure to appear
rates and the number of people held in
the jail on low bail amounts.
3. Increase the use of Pretrial Supervision. Baltimore should release more

people to be supervised in the community by the Pretrial Release Services
Program. This program is less expensive than incarceration and the results
are even better than the national average. Expanding this program could
save money, reduce the jail population
and reduce the number of people who
fail to appear at court.
4. Remind people to go to court. Baltimore should consider implementing a
court date notification system modeled
after effective programs in other jurisdictions. These systems are shown to
reduce failure to appear rates and save
staff time and money.
5. Reduce time between arrest and
court. Baltimore should reduce the
length of time between arrest and
court date. Every extra day that a person is incarcerated while awaiting trial
costs Maryland taxpayers an average
of $100. Speeding up the process,
while maintaining fair legal practices,
can significantly reduce the number of
people in the jail at any given time and
reduce costs.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

33

HOW DO COURT SYSTEMS AFFECT
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN JAIL?

>

Summary: Baltimore City has both a district court and a circuit court. District Court
covers misdemeanor and felony cases, although it primarily hears small claims and
minor violations. Circuit court is a state trial court with a number of different jurisdictions which hears more cases related to serious crimes. Both courts have an impact
on the number of people held in the Baltimore jail. Despite innovations in court processing in recent years, the courts are still clogged with too many cases and
postponements are still causing too many people to spend too much time in jail pretrial. In addition, fast-tracking of some cases may be inadvertently widening the net
of who is involved in the criminal justice system by encouraging people to plead guilty,
thereby avoiding lengthy jail time prior to their day in court. While this practice may
get some people out of jail faster, it also provides lifetime consequences for those
who may accept a guilty plea not because of the merits of the charges but the need
to return to their family and life responsibilities. Baltimore should evaluate its court
processes and work to reduce the time from arrest to court date so people spend less
time in jail awaiting trial.

District Court
Baltimore City has five District Courts that
cover both misdemeanors and felonies and also
deal with civil claims. If a case that has been
tried in the District Court is appealed, it moves
to the Circuit Court for retrial. For felony
offenses and criminal cases that could result in
three or more years of imprisonment and/or
warrant a fine of $2,500 or more, the jurisdiction of District Court coincides with that of the
Circuit Court. A clear distinction between these
two courts is the absence of a jury in District
Courts.100
Typically, court dates are set 30 days after arrest,
and many people who either can’t make bail or
are not offered bail will remain in jail until this

34

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

time. Due to the large number of cases falling
under the jurisdiction of the District Court, Baltimore developed a series of options, some of
which are included here, to fast track some of
these cases to save court time and reduce the
number of people held pretrial for extended
periods. Other notable court programs include
the new Specialized Prostitution Diversion Program and the Marijuana Diversion Program.
The Early Resolution Court is a Baltimore City
high-volume specialty court that is the part of
the District Court designed to handle cases
where diversion such as community service
and/or drug education and treatment might be
appropriate.101 This court was created under
Martin O’Malley’s tenure as mayor of Baltimore
City as a response to the high number of “nuisance” or “quality of life” cases (like littering,

Early resolution court process of District Court
Early Resolution Court
Release
Plea successfully bargained
Case declined
No plea
agreed on

SAO offers plea
Arrest in
Baltimore

Released
pretrial

Case
brought to
SAO

No early plea
offered
Don’t qualify for Quality
Case Review

Case
accepted
In jail
pretrial

Quality case
review

Regular
Court

No plea
agreed on
Plea successfully
bargained or case
dismissed

Early Disposition Court

loitering or sleeping on park benches) clogging
the court under his administration’s crackdown
on these offenses. The type of cases the court
was set up to handle include: where the police
officer issues the citation with an assigned court
date; people who are released pretrial and qualify for referral to community service; the
First-Time Offenders Diversion Program; and
other cases which are deemed appropriate.
The State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) determines
who is eligible for the court. As described in
more detail below, people can be sent to the
court through declinations by the SAO, referral
to the Early Resolution Court for people who
have been released pretrial and referral to the
Quality Case Review and Early Disposition
Court for people who remain incarcerated prior
to trial.

1. Declinations
The quickest way to resolve an arrest is if the
State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) reviews the arrest
and decides not to charge. These declinations
often occur when the case is weak, there is a lack
of evidence, when prosecutors feel that the
offense was abated by arrest (meaning that the
arrest was sufficient in stopping the act) or for
any other reason. In 2009, of the more than
50,000 arrests reviewed by the SAO in District
Court, about 22 percent were declined.102 If the
arrest is not declined it can be reviewed for one
of the other two parts of the Early Resolution
Court.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

35

2. Quality Case Review (QCR)
and Early Disposition Court
Quality Case Review was established in Central
Booking in 1996 and merged with the Early Disposition Court in 2002.103 The QCR is intended
to help free up bed space in the jail by releasing
people whose arrests can be easily and quickly
closed. Only people who will remain incarcerated until their trial date and who are
represented by a public defender are eligible for
QCR. Those chosen for QCR are generally people with nonviolent, victimless or misdemeanor
charges such as drug possession, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor theft and vandalism.
For the Quality Case Review (QCR), the State’s
Attorney’s Office and the public defender review
daily the list of people who have been in Central
Booking for at least three days, and the two
agencies bargain pleas on eligible cases. During
the QCR, if the arrest is found to be unlikely to
warrant a prosecution or if there is not enough
evidence to convict, or if a plea agreement is
reached by both parties, the case is scheduled for
Early Disposition Court. At the Early Disposition Court the judge can accept the dismissal or
plea and close the case, often resulting in the
release of the person being held in the jail. Alternatively, if the judge rejects the plea or dismissal,
or a plea agreement is not reached by both parties, the case is forwarded to the District Court
for traditional court processing. The Early Disposition Court is held weekly in a special court
inside Central Booking (Part 40), and the cases
scheduled under this docket are usually closed
within 3 – 7 days of arrest.
In 2009, 1,824 people were eligible for a QCR, of
which 693 were resolved (adding up to 938
cases, since some people have multiple arrests),
resulting in an estimated 13,623 pretrial bed
days saved (averaging 9.35 days from arrest to
disposition).104 At $159 per day for holding a
person in Central Booking, the use of the QCR
can have a significant cost-saving result for
Maryland.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Public defenders may advise some clients to
refuse to accept a guilty plea through the Quality Case Review process, because there is a
chance that their case will be dismissed at court
or they will be found not guilty. If they do not
plead and are not found guilty, they avoid a conviction that could impact an existing probation
status, as well as the myriad collateral consequences of a criminal record. However, if a
person would like to have their case expedited
and potentially return to their community, family and job faster, he may accept the terms of a
guilty plea despite the consequences. According
to researchers Faye Taxman and Lori Elis, “This
raises clear questions about the fairness of a system that can work swiftly but, as one prosecutor
noted, uses ‘coerced participation’ as the carrot to
swift outcomes.”105

“This raises clear questions
about the fairness of a system
that can work swiftly but, as
one prosecutor noted, uses
‘coerced participation’ as the
carrot to swift outcomes.”
Faye Taxman and Lori Elis

106

3. Early Resolution Court
The Early Resolution Court is for people who
were released pretrial and are awaiting trial in
the community instead of the jail. If deemed eligible for the court based on the offense and
offense history, the State’s Attorney’s Office
makes an offer for a plea, and the person
charged with the offense, with the advice of
counsel, either accepts or rejects the plea. If the
person accepts the plea and it is accepted by the
judge at the court, the sentence or disposition is
imposed. If the offer is rejected by either party,
the case is set for trial on the regular District
Court docket. People who accept the plea and
the terms of the court will likely be required to
perform community service and/or participate

of the court saves time and resources in the
short-run, it may not be the best option for people who are arrested or a long-term solution to
the problem of overcrowded courts and jails.
The Quality Case Review and Early Resolution
Court may lead to widening the net of correctional control, as a guilty plea means a person
will pick up a conviction on their record. Having a prior conviction could increase the
likelihood of future incarceration: since the commissioner
reviewing a person’s case for
About 35 percent of non-citation cases that went to
Early Resolution Court in 2009 were closed at
pretrial release on a future
that court
charge will see the conviction(s)
on their record, he may be more
Nol
Pros/
likely
to decide that the person
Stet
13%
must be detained prior to trial.
Arraigned
Pretrial detention has been
Community
54%
Service
associated with a higher likeli6%
hood of a guilty disposition,109
Guilty
Diversion
Failure to
Plea
4%
Appear
and a higher likelihood of a
12%
11%
sentence of incarceration over
probation.110

in drug treatment if appropriate. There is currently a program with the Department of Public
Works where people can walk out of court and
go directly to a bus that will take them to a site
to perform their community service that same
day. If they complete the assigned diversion program their case will be nolle prossed107 and they
will avoid the collateral consequences of a criminal record for the offense.

Source: Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Annual Statistical Report, January thru December 2009,
Presented to Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council meeting, March 2010

In 2009, 11,718 non-citation and 5,110 citation
cases were reviewed in the Eastside Early Resolution Court. Of the non-citation cases, 426 (3.6
percent) were sent to diversion, 662 (5.6 percent) accepted community service and 1,368
(11.7 percent) cases were nolle prossed.108 Of the
5,110 citation cases reviewed, more than 60 percent (3,094 cases) were nolle prossed and 843
(16.5 percent) accepted community service.
The Early Resolution Court and all of its components is sometimes jokingly referred to as the
“let’s make a deal court,” because the State’s
Attorney’s Office and the person’s lawyer (who
is frequently from the public defender’s office)
often negotiate the plea needed for participation. While there is little doubt that the existence

In addition, the courts are not
offering any services or
resources to ensure that people do not end up
back at the court. And a person can go to the
Early Resolution Court as many times as the
judge will allow on new charges. While the court
may keep people out of jail for a while and fasttrack low-level cases, it is really just a band-aid
on a growing problem of the number of people
involved in the criminal justice system, instead
of addressing the underlying issues that may be
responsible for so many people showing up at
Central Booking. Instead of creating faster ways
to convict someone, Baltimore should focus its
resources on finding better ways to keep people
out of the criminal justice system through front
end services like employment, treatment and
housing.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

37

Fugitive Safe Surrender—Coming Soon to Baltimore
Baltimore will soon be implementing the Fugitive Safe Surrender program to help reduce court
backlogs and resolve outstanding warrants in the city.111 Fugitive Safe Surrender is an increasingly popular initiative currently in 16 cities that involves the collaboration of efforts by U.S.
Marshals and local law enforcement agencies with local faith-based organizations and leaders.
The program establishes churches as meeting points for people with outstanding arrest or
bench warrants to report on predetermined dates/times. This puts the onus on the person with
the outstanding warrant to resolve their case, rather than expending law enforcement
resources. Judges are on-hand at the meeting points in order to expedite the trial process.
While the program primarily targets people charged with nonviolent offenses, those with a
warrant for any type of offense are welcomed to surrender. Most cases can be disposed of
immediately, but in some instances the nature of the offense or warrant may require that the
person be arrested, which is done discreetly to avoid deterring other participants.
In addition to being able to process warrants on the premises, some Fugitive Safe Surrender
programs have also offered referrals to social services, as well as on-site childcare; Washington, D.C. offered these services in their Fugitive Safe Surrender program in November 2003.112
These measures may be valuable to people who might otherwise feel intimidated when reporting to a local enforcement agency.
In cities that have recently conducted Fugitive Safe Surrender, the number of people showing
up has been staggering, oftentimes exceeding the expectations of organizers. In Camden,
New Jersey in November 2008, 2,245 peopled surrendered themselves over the course of the
four-day program.113 Detroit’s program proved to be one of the most successful. In June 2008,
more than 7,000 people surrendered,114 3,300 of whom had their warrants processed on the
premises and 750 of whom found out that they did not have active outstanding warrants.115
Fugitive Safe Surrender is different from prior efforts by Baltimore Law Enforcement and U.S.
Marshals to apprehend people with outstanding warrants because it is not a typical round-up
procedure. Past efforts to find persons with bench and arrest warrants, and then process the
warrants, have taken the form of extensive and resource-exhaustive sweeps, such as the
“Operation Safe Holiday” round-up in Baltimore in 2007, in which 110 law enforcement officials were needed to apprehend just 141 persons over a four-day period.116 Additionally, the
Safe Surrender program may be a safer and more peaceful way to dispose of warrants than
sweeps or crackdowns. The likelihood of violence and incidence of physical harm occurring is
much greater using traditional methods of apprehending people with outstanding warrants
than with the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Circuit Court
The Circuit Court for Baltimore City is a state trial
court of unlimited jurisdiction and is divided into
four main divisions: Family, Juvenile, Criminal,
and Civil. The family docket hears a wide range of
matters including divorce, custody and child support cases. The civil division handles workers’
compensation matters, medical malpractice cases,
small torts and other business and commercial
issues. The juvenile division handles delinquency
cases, children in need of assistance cases and
matters involving the termination of parental
rights. Cases heard in the criminal division range
from drug and property offenses to those involving violent offenses and violations of probation.
In addition, the Circuit Court takes misdemeanor
cases from the District Court if the sentence for
the offense could be 90 days or more. The Circuit
Court also runs Baltimore’s Drug Treatment
Court and the Felony Diversion Initiative.
When someone comes to the Circuit Court he
first goes to arraignment court,117 where he
hears the charges against him and the judge sets
a trial date based on his case. The Circuit Court
uses the Differentiated Case Management
(DCM) system for deciding trial dates, which
assigns a Track Code to each case depending on
the complexity of the case, number of people
charged and the anticipated length of the trial.
•

•

•

•

Track A cases involve one or two people
with an anticipated trial length of 2
days and are set for 60 days after the
arraignment.
Track B cases involve multiple people
with an anticipated trial length of up to
5 days and are set for trial 90 days after
the arraignment.
Track C cases involve charges of serious
personal injury or death and receive a
trial date 120 days from the arraignment.
Track D cases involve high profile matters and may require additional time for
trial preparation.118

After the arraignment court he will go to the
associated Reception Court, which was started
in March 2007 by judges who were concerned
about their caseload. Sometimes referred to as
the “triage court”, this is where lawyers for both
sides and the judge can work through all of the
cases and decide which cases can be plead out,
which need to go to trial, which will be dropped
and which cases to postpone. The primary goals
are to try cases as expeditiously as possible and
to limit postponements.119 If the person’s case
cannot be settled in Reception Court he will go
to one of four trial courts associated with the
Reception Court according to the date set by the
judge.

Collateral dockets
Each Circuit Court judge schedules one collateral docket per month to deal with cases of
violation of probation, post convictions,
motions for modification of sentence and other
matters. There are currently 13,871 people on
probation in Baltimore.120 Each person on probation is under the jurisdiction of their
sentencing judge, whether that judge is in the
District or Circuit Court. People who violate
their probation (VOP) may be issued a summons or a warrant with a bail amount or “no
bail” attached by a judge. Under Maryland rules,
if a judge sets bail for a VOP, this person is not
entitled to a bail review by another judge. The
person can either make bail and be released or
will remain in jail custody until their court date,
which is held on collateral docket days. He is
entitled to an attorney at the VOP trial, but must
ask for one, which sometimes delays his being
seen by the judge. At a minimum, it is likely that
the person will not see the judge for 30 days after
their arrest for VOP, but sometimes it is considerably longer. If the person shows up to court
with the wrong judge there may be a postponement, leaving the person incarcerated for
another month or longer. The number of cases
seen on each collateral docket varies by day and
by judge. Typically, judges see about 40 people
for VOP charges on these days.121

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

39

The length of time between arrest and court
seems particularly onerous in cases of violation
of probation, as investigations are generally
minimal and the meeting before the judge is
more of a mitigation than a defense on the part
of defense counsel, since technical violations are
not new offenses. Having more frequent collateral dockets could reduce the amount of time
that a person may have to be incarcerated for a
technical violation.

Adrian*was arrested in Baltimore in 2004 for
selling illegal drugs. After posting $100,000 bail
he was back on the street, only to be arrested
again less than a month later on a similar
charge. He was not offered bail the second time
and was facing a 10 year sentence. He was
committed to the Baltimore City Detention Center to await a trial that never came. Adrian’s
case was postponed multiple times for various
reasons, including court closures, delays in the
prosecution’s case and lack of witnesses, including law enforcement. The State of Maryland
requires all people to be tried in 180 days after
their attorneys make their initial appearance
before the court (Hicks rule),123 but a person who
is being charged can waive this right to a speedy
trial (Hicks waiver). Adrian refused a Hicks
waiver and after spending two years incarcerated in the jail, with the help of his lawyer, his
case was dismissed and he was released.

appearance.122 Court dates can be postponed for
a number of reasons including illness, inclement
weather that forces the courts to shut down and
other unanticipated incidents. And there is no
limit to the number of times a case can be postponed—it is at the discretion of the judge.
Although the number of postponements has
dropped over the past few years, it is still a frequent challenge for the courts. For many people
who are detained pending trial, postponements
can mean another couple of months of sitting
inside the jail waiting to be seen by a judge. Postponements appear to be a significant factor in
jail crowding and the increasing average length
of stay for people in the jail.

Postponements

Postponements can lead to other consequences
both for people who are incarcerated and for case
outcomes. Sometimes people are incarcerated
awaiting trial for longer than they would have
been sentenced to had they been convicted on the
offense. For example, someone may be held for
90 days awaiting trial only to receive a 30 day sentence suspended because of time served, or
probation with no jail sentence at all. Alternatively, for people whose cases are postponed so
many times that their pretrial incarceration
exceeds 180 days, they will either be asked to
waive their Hicks rights124 or their case will be dismissed. In this way, exceedingly long pretrial wait
times may result in people not being tried, and
the community feeling that justice was not
served. Finally, postponements can cause lawyers
from both sides to lose track of witnesses and
could be detrimental to their case.

When someone is arraigned, the prosecutor and
defense attorney decide on a trial date that will
allow for both of them to work on their case and
be ready to present to the court. However, in
some cases, the trial date arrives and one or both
of the parties is not ready and may ask for a
postponement. Usually when they ask for a
postponement of the court date it will be a minimum of another 60 days to the next court

Court processes have a real impact on the number of people incarcerated in the jail and how
long they stay there. Identifying promising practices could reduce the length of time people wait
for trial, reducing the number of people in the
jail, reducing costs and possibly leading to better outcomes for people involved in the criminal
justice system.

* Adrian Muldrow is the director and co-founder of We Can Achieve: Consulting, Mentoring & Educational Services in
Baltimore. Adrian was personally interviewed by the author of this report.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Violence Prevention Initiative
The Violence Prevention Initiative may be resulting in more arrests and longer jail stays for the
people it targets. Following crime statistics showing that 30 percent of people arrested in Baltimore City were under supervision of the Division of Parole and Probation, the Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services launched the Violence Prevention Initiative in July 2007. The Violent Prevention Unit (VPU) is a special program of the Division of
Parole and Probation (DPP) established to reduce violence in the community by focusing on
people who fit certain criteria and increase information-sharing between jurisdictions. These
people are either on probation or parole and have been identified by certain characteristics
related to violent or gun offenses. By studying the characteristics of both people engaged in
crime and victims in Baltimore City, DPP developed a risk assessment tool to identify people
on probation with the greatest probability of participating in future violent offenses; this tool
is updated frequently. The Juvenile Violence Prevention Initiative focuses on youth who have
been involved in homicides or non-fatal shootings.
According to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control Policy, “Any offender under DPP supervision who is: 1) under 29 years of age; 2) has 13 or more arrests; and 3) is currently under
supervision for Felony Drug Offenses, Armed Robbery, Carjacking, Felony Assault, Handgun
Violations, Kidnapping or Murder is automatically assigned to the Violence Prevention Unit
within DPP. Validated high-ranking gang members, and parolees or mandatory releases who
were, while incarcerated, confined to Administrative Segregation, or who assaulted correctional officers are also assigned to VPI.”125 There are currently 869 people under active
probation supervision in the Violence Prevention Units in Baltimore City.126
People on the Violence Prevention Unit can be in one of two categories: VPU I or VPU II. All
people start in VPU I; if a person is compliant after one year of being on the program he can be
moved down to VPU II. People under the supervision of the VPU I are required to meet with
their probation or parole officer 12 times per month, and those tagged with VPU II must meet
8 times per month. If a person is fully compliant after one full year he can be removed from the
VPI list.127 The conditions of supervision for a person on the VPU list can be onerous and difficult to follow, especially when he is trying to maintain employment or education and when
transportation is an issue.
Once a person is on the VPU list, he is under close scrutiny by all parts of the criminal justice
system. Officers at the Division of Parole and Probation, who supervise people on the list, are
instructed to use a zero tolerance approach to their behavior: if a person on the list misses an
appointment, his supervisor gets a warrant for their arrest. If he is picked up for even a minor
offense, his case will be flagged in Central Booking and he may be more likely to receive no
bail or a high bail amount for his release. As an example: a man on the VPU is arrested for a
very small amount of drugs for personal use. He is taken to Central Booking where the State’s
Attorney decides to charge him for the possession. Pretrial services runs his records and notes
that he is on the VPU list. The State’s Attorney’s Office may then recommend to the commissioner that this person receive a very high bail amount or no bail, to help ensure that he
stays incarcerated, even though this offense is very minor and nonviolent and may have

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

41

resulted in a release on recognizance for someone who was not on the list. Even if the State’s
Attorney’s Office decides to drop the charge on the person on VPU, their probation or parole
can still be revoked for the offense.
The VPI program, which is run by the State of Maryland, rather than Baltimore City, is legitimized as a public safety tool that can identify the “worst of the worst” and keep Baltimore
streets safe. The program assumes the worst—that people are going to engage in illegal or
violent behavior in the future and any illegal behavior, whether robbing a convenience store or
violating probation by missing a meeting, is cause for detention. According to the program,
locking people up for minor offenses will ensure that they can’t go out and commit a more
serious offense. For example, if a person not on VPI is being supervised in the community by
Pretrial Release Services and misses an appointment with his pretrial agent, it is noted, but
there is no real consequence, as long as the person shows up for their court date. If a person
is in the VPI program, however, and misses an appointment with the agent the next day that
agent must go to the judge and ask for a warrant for his arrest. This process takes up valuable
resources from the judge and can strain the relationship between Pretrial Services and the
courts.
In addition, this type of close supervision has been shown to be correlated with more arrests,
including arrests for low-level offenses that are not shown to be precursors to future violence.
This can mean additional incarceration at a point in time when a person may be trying to meet
their personal and social obligations. Additionally, with Maryland’s expanded definition of who
is a “gang member,” the VPI program may actually widen the net unnecessarily. Finally, the
question of whether someone should be jailed for a minor offense such as littering or trespassing on the suspicion that they may engage in future serious crime seems counter to what
is considered usual punishment. More needs to be learned about the effectiveness of VPI
before it can be determined that public safety warrants the change from existing practices that
it represents.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Recommendations:
1. Evaluate court processes. The Baltimore Courts should examine the
fairness
of
fast-tracking
court
processes that require guilty pleas.
Finding ways to streamline court
processes while providing alternatives
to pleas could benefit people involved
in the system and the larger community because that person would not be
hindered by the collateral consequences of a criminal record. In order
to accomplish this goal, system players
need better access to court data.
2. Expand court hours. Baltimore Courts
should expand their hours to include
nights and weekends to clear up court
backlogs. Other jurisdictions like New
York City have opened up extended
hours for their courts to reduce clogged
court dockets. Expanding court hours
could alleviate long wait periods for
people awaiting trial, which could have
a significant impact on the amount of
time people spend in jail pretrial.
3. Reduce time between alleged probation violation events and court
hearings. Judges should increase the
number of collateral docket days to
reduce the number of people waiting in
the Baltimore jail for technical violations
of probation. Alternatively, probation
violation hearings could be scheduled
into their judge’s next available regular

court docket if that date is sooner. Forcing people who are trying to establish
positive ties to the community, like
employment and education, to remain
incarcerated for upwards of 30 days if
they cannot afford bail on a technical
violation is a waste of jail resources and
may be contributing to jail overcrowding.
4. Address postponements. Baltimore
criminal justice agencies need to
address the number of postponements
allowed in cases, as these are affecting
the length of time people remain incarcerated pretrial. Postponements are
caused by nearly all parts of the system
and examining possible solutions to
this problem will help reduce the length
of time people remain in jail awaiting
trial.
5. Closely examine the VPI program.
Maryland should continue to examine
the effectiveness of the Violence Prevention Initiative and whether better
policies and practices are available. The
VPI program uses extensive law
enforcement and court resources and
may be contributing to the number of
people incarcerated at the jail. Identifying other ways to positively support
people who may be at risk of violent
behaviors may be a more cost-effective
way of maintaining public safety and
ensuring positive life outcomes.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

43

RE-ENTERING BALTIMORE CITY

>

Summary: Reentry initiatives are some of the most important yet least-funded
aspects of the criminal justice system. With today’s high rates of incarceration, communities, mostly metropolitan centers, must manage more people recently released
from jail or prison at a higher rate than ever.128 The transition from cell to city is a crucial one, encompassing the time when a person either starts a new life or returns to
his or her past. This critical period is when people leaving jail are either left to “sink or
swim” or are provided with critical resources and support necessary to establish
themselves in the community. It is paramount that policymakers do more to ensure
community safety and promote positive life outcomes for people leaving correctional
facilities like the Baltimore jail.

People leaving correctional facilities face a number of different challenges when re-entering
their communities. Finding employment and
housing, accessing treatment or services, establishing positive social networks and even just
getting transportation home are all common
challenges faced by people re-entering the community. These challenges are partially
responsible for the high re-incarceration rate;
the lack of access to supported re-entry services
can make the transition even more difficult. A
survey of women in the Baltimore jail revealed
the five most important factors in keeping them
from returning to jail:
employment, drug treatment, housing, seeing their
children and living in a different neighborhood.129

Even short-term
incarceration can
increase recidivism
when compared to
alternatives.

Even short-term incarceration can increase recidivism
when compared to alternatives. According to a
2003 review conducted by the Office of Legislative
Analyst for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, people released to home detention, work
release programs and residential treatment pro-

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

grams all fared better than the control group in jail.
Nearly two-thirds of all people who were released
following incarceration recidivated, compared
with the 33 percent recidivism rate of people who
completed these diversion programs.130
The Baltimore City Re-Entry Implementation
Council is working with organizations in the
community to determine how they can improve
access to re-entry services for people leaving the
Baltimore jail. But one of the biggest challenges
they face is pinpointing times when organizations
and agencies can reach the most people as they
are being released, as it appears that these times
vary and can sometimes be in the middle of the
night. This is further complicated as people are
released from multiple locations at the jail: people can be released on Eager Street or from the
Jail Industries building. Additionally, a large
number of people are released by the courts when
either their cases are dropped, their pretrial
release status changes or their case is disposed of
in a number of ways. Formerly these people
would be released straight from court, but now
everyone is taken back to the jail for processing,
which can sometimes lead to release in the mid-

dle of the night, making it difficult to arrange
rides home or other services.

before a person is released from a correctional
facility, not just after they have been released.

While jail administrators keep records of the
times that people are released, city agencies working on implementing re-entry services are not
receiving this information. Furthermore, it is not
obvious if the records are being used by jail
administrators for planning purposes, especially
as it pertains to re-entry services. Identifying
when and where people are released could help
determine the best place to station release services, so they are not released to the streets without
support and services to help them succeed and
reintegrate into their community. And best practices require that re-entry services are provided

The success of reentry initiatives pays dividends,
both in terms of social costs and financial costs.
Providing services that guide formerly incarcerated men and women into jobs can have a
positive impact on communities, both in terms
of public safety and cost savings. In 2007 the
Urban Institute found that the Maryland Reentry Partnership Initiative (REP) saved Baltimore
residents $7.2 million—$21,500 per REP participant—producing $3 in benefits for every $1
spent. Participants in REP also committed fewer
crimes (72 percent during the study period)
than the control group (77.6 percent).131

Stories from inside the jail, and out
Tens of thousands of people cycle in and out of the Baltimore criminal justice system and jail every year.
Many people struggle with substance abuse or mental health problems, homelessness, joblessness or
any number of other challenges that may have contributed to their criminal justice involvement. Most
will spend nearly 24 hours in Central Booking, and many will spend days, months and even years in the
jail awaiting their day in court. Some people are fortunate enough to receive support and services while
they are in the jail and/or when they are released. These are some of their stories.132
Anita*
Anita struggled with addiction for many years but was never able to access treatment and
admittedly did not always have the desire to seek treatment. A few years ago she was arrested
in Baltimore and sent to jail on drug-related charges and for violating her probation.
While incarcerated in the Women’s Detention Center, Anita took part in group sessions with Baltimore Rising, Inc., a nonprofit group that provides re-entry services inside and outside the jail.
She and a few other women would meet once a week to talk about their goals for when they
were released and what they needed to do to achieve them. Because of the support she received
from Baltimore Rising and this group of women at the jail, Anita felt hope. The woman who runs
the group, Ms. Cynthia Jackson, even attended court with Anita, where she was sentenced to
one year for her violation of probation and drug charge. She spent six months in the jail.
Ready for a change in attitude and behavior, Anita went to Baltimore Rising to get help once she
was released. Staff at Baltimore Rising referred her to a transitional recovery house for women who
have been released from jail and are in need of treatment. Anita continues to work with Baltimore
Rising and is attending college and getting her life together. She has goals for her life now, like getting her own place and finishing her education. She knows that it is hard for women who have been
in jail to make positive changes to their life and not go back to their old ways. She tears up when
thinking about how grateful she is for the help she has received since she’s been released and how
excited she is for the positive things in her future. She never wants to go back to the jail.
*Anita’s name has been changed to ensure her privacy. Anita was personally interviewed by the author of this report.
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Adrian*
Adrian was a young teen when he first started selling drugs to buy himself expensive clothes
and shoes. At age 16 he was arrested and cycled in and out of the prison system for the next
20 years. In 1999 he was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and spent over five years
in a Maryland prison. In all his time incarcerated Adrian never received any services to help
him when he was released, aside from earning a GED at age 23 while in prison. After the case
was overturned and he was released, Adrian went back to what he knew—selling drugs. Less
than three months after his release he was arrested in Baltimore and committed to the Baltimore jail. While detained in the jail Adrian saw the unjust and inhumane treatment of the
people who were incarcerated with him. He joined the Inmate Council and soon became President, advocating for more just policies and practices inside the jail. These included more
nutritious meals, better exercise equipment, fairer classification procedures to alleviate overcrowding issues and more appropriate medical treatment. He saw that most of the people he
was incarcerated with were more concerned about fighting with each other than fighting for
each other. He wanted to make a difference.
After spending two years in the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting trial, Adrian was
released with the help of friend and attorney, Marc133 and joined Catholic Charities’ Maryland
Re-Entry Partnership (REP).134 This program helps people returning to Baltimore communities
after incarceration with housing, job placement, health issues, substance abuse, employment
and education and getting Social Security cards and birth certificates. In addition to support
and mentoring, the Re-Entry Partnership helped Adrian find a job within a month of working
with them and helped him obtain transitional housing. While in the program, Adrian secured a
steady job, got married and now has two daughters; he recently purchased a home. He graduated from the program in March of 2008.135 Adrian is also the director and co-founder of We
Can Achieve: Consulting, Mentoring & Educational Services in Baltimore.136
Adrian’s experiences with the criminal justice system taught him that it doesn’t work; he kept
seeing the same guys coming into and going out of the jail. He saw that people like himself
who have a propensity to engage in illegal behaviors do not receive any services or assistance
to find other outlets when they are released. Many of them don’t have a plan when they are
released, and no process for re-entry, so they go back to what they were doing before they
were arrested. He thinks there needs to be on-site programs to help people so they are prepared when they are released; programs like substance abuse treatment and employment
skills could help people transition back to the community and lead positive, successful lives.

*Adrian Muldrow is the director and co-founder of We Can Achieve: Consulting, Mentoring & Educational Services in
Baltimore. Adrian was personally interviewed by the author of this report.

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Michelle*
“When you’re inside the jail, you just have to make the best of a bad situation.”
While incarcerated in the Baltimore jail awaiting trial, 22-year-old Michelle participated in group
sessions with Baltimore Rising, Inc.137 The group provides people a positive and safe space to
voice concerns about their past and their future. It provided the backbone for the positive
changes that Michelle was to make when she was released after pleading guilty and receiving
probation with a suspended sentence for her offense.
Today, Michelle lives in Baltimore and is about to finish her junior year in college. She has been
out of jail for two years. After being released, she went back to Baltimore Rising to receive
services to help her get her life together. She felt such a connection with the organization that
she volunteered in the office until she was hired on as a full-time member of the staff. She
knows that there is a significant amount of discrimination in society and that there are not a lot
of people out there who want to hire somebody with a felony record, and she is grateful for the
opportunity to work at a place that sees her as a whole person, not just a felony record. She
believes strongly that Baltimore Rising provides vital services for people who need them.
Michelle recently went back to the Baltimore jail, this time as a visitor to the women’s group
in which she used to participate. She brings hope to the women inside and inspires them to
come out, make goals and work hard to achieve them, like she did. She didn’t mind going back
to the jail as a visitor, but never wants to go back as a resident.

How do conditions in the jail
affect successful re-entry?
It is no secret that the Baltimore jail has had its
share of “horror stories” when it comes to living
conditions and the treatment of people incarcerated there. Being one of the oldest and most
crowded jails in the country lends particular
challenges, and the jail has been the subject of
many lawsuits over the years and even a federal
Department of Justice investigation138 regarding
its conditions. Older jails like Baltimore’s tend
not to be built for the purpose of providing

*

services and may suffer from many of the problems associated with other older buildings,
including mold, poor ventilation, lead pipes,
asbestos, and other structural and environmental challenges. These problems can be extremely
detrimental to the health and rehabilitation of
people in them. The most recent settlement in
Duvall v. O’Malley will help with some of the
conditions in the jail, including access to medical care, but many problems still exist and
crowded, inhumane living conditions can have
negative consequences for people once they
leave. (See text box.)

Michelle’s name has been changed to ensure her privacy. Michelle was personally interviewed by the author of this report.

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47

The reported conditions in the jail do not lend
themselves to rehabilitation and may actually
worsen a person’s chances of succeeding on the
outside. In general, substandard or inhumane
living conditions and overcrowding in correctional facilities are associated with poor
outcomes after release, including higher recidivism rates.141 People with mental illness in jails

Reported conditions in jail do not lend
themselves to rehabilitation and may
actually worsen a person’s chances of
succeeding on the outside.
are particularly affected by these conditions;
incarceration generally causes them to decompensate and makes them more at risk of
harming themselves or others. People in overcrowded jails may receive fewer assessments
when they arrive, fewer services while they are
incarcerated and little to no services when they
are leaving the jail. According to one group of
clinicians, “Unfortunately, the prospect of

screening inmates for mental disorder and treating those in need of mental health services has
become a daunting and nearly impossible task
in the present explosion of prison growth.”142
The Baltimore jail has hospitals on site and inhouse contracted doctors and medical staff to
address both acute and chronic issues. Medical
requests or “sick calls” are available six days per
week and are supposed to be answered within 24
hours. These sick calls cost people in the jail $4
per visit from the doctor,143 but nobody will be
turned away if they cannot pay. People inside
the jail claim that sometimes those requesting
medical care are ignored or refused treatment,
causing irreparable physical problems. In addition, the lack of an on-site pharmacy may make
it difficult to receive medications in a timely
matter, as the current turnaround time is 24
hours. One reason for the lack of a pharmacy is
simply logistics—there is no room for one in the
jail. People in correctional facilities experience
various physical and mental ailments that need
to be appropriately addressed by the facility.

Duvall v. O’Malley—A big step toward better conditions for people in the jail
“Being tough on crime shouldn’t mean putting prisoners’ lives at risk through blatantly inadequate
medical care and woefully unsanitary conditions” —Baltimore Sun 8/20/09139
In 2009, a settlement was reached in Duvall v. O’Malley et al, a 17-year old lawsuit, with the help
of the ACLU’s National Prison Project and the Baltimore-based Public Justice Center. The lawsuit
was originally filed in 1971 when statements by medical experts and people who had spent time
in the jail revealed shamefully sub-par health care, along with dangerous and unsanitary living
conditions at the jail. The settlement should lead to dramatic improvements in the quality of medical and mental health care provided at the Baltimore jail. These improvements include better
medical and mental health screening at intake, responses to sick calls within 72 hours, ongoing
treatment for people with chronic diseases, an on-site psychiatrist available five days a week and
necessary housing supplies for people with disabilities. Officials are also required to ensure safe
and sanitary conditions for people in the jail and respond to any issues in a timely manner.140
While there are still issues to be addressed in the jail, like the inadequate temperature control
system, this agreement is a big step toward better conditions for the tens of thousands of people who cycle in and out of the jail every year.

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What do people need when
returning to the community?

diagnosed with depression and 44 percent with
bipolar disorder.

Identifying specific needs of people leaving jail
in any one community can often be difficult, but
in Baltimore some of the work has already been
done. A collaborative project commissioned by
Baltimore non-profit organization Power
Inside,144 working with women inside the Baltimore jail and the Bloomberg School of Public
Health at Johns Hopkins University, surveyed
women leaving the jail in winter 2005. The purpose was to gain information about the women
generally and what they felt that they needed
when they got out.145 After the women’s survey
was published, Power Inside partnered with the
Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services, Catholic Charities of Baltimore and
Choice Research Associates to similarly survey
men leaving the Baltimore jail in summer
2009.146 Although they were not identical, both
surveys focused on socio-demographic background, health status, recent drug use and sexual
behavior history, and material and social
resource availability upon release from the facility. The surveys found similar results for both
men and women: high incidence of mental
health and substance abuse problems and a need
for housing and treatment upon release.

People who have co-occurring drug addiction
and mental health disorders can experience a
psychological deterioration once jailed due to
the interruption in treatment and medication
and environmental stressors. People with these
issues are in need of extra care from mental
health professionals, who, according to the
National Association of Counties, have to work
“twice as hard to get them back to where they
were before they entered the jail.”149 The lack of
available community mental health treatment
can lead to more people with mental illness
coming into contact with the criminal justice
system, especially for people who are also homeless.

Treatment
Mental health
These two surveys found mental health problems to be a common occurrence in people
leaving the Baltimore jail. Of the 148 women
surveyed, 59 percent reported having been diagnosed with depression and 33 percent with
bipolar disorder.147
Of the 171 men responding to the survey, 42
percent reported having been diagnosed with
mental illness at some point in their lifetime.148
Of these men, 81 percent report having been

Researchers have found that
the people’s reaction to jail
conditions can exacerbate
mental health problems and
conditions that may increase
their propensity towards
suicidal behavior.
Once they are incarcerated, researchers have
found that the people’s reaction to jail conditions can exacerbate mental health problems
and conditions that may increase their propensity towards suicidal behavior. Newly jailed
people experience fear of the unknown, distrust
of the environment, isolation from family and
significant others, shame and stigma of incarceration, a loss of stabilizing resources and
severe guilt or shame over the alleged offense.
Current mental illness and prior history of suicidal behavior also intensify in the jail
environment.150 These conditions and stressors
conspire to increase the suicide rate in jails, as
compared to the general population. Compared
with a U.S. suicide rate of 17 per 100,000 people, the suicide rate in local jails is 47 per

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49

More women in the jail reported having a mental illness
than people in the general population
100%

80%
59%
60%

40%

33%

28%
18.1%

20%
9%

6.7%
2.6%

1.1%

0%
Depression

Bipolar Disorder

Anxiety Disorders

■ Women in the Baltimore jail

Schizophrenia

■ General U.S. population

More men in the jail reported having a mental illness
than people in the general population
100%
81%
80%

60%
44%
40%
22%

18.1%

20%%

15%
6.7%
3.5%

2.6%

1.1%

0
Depression

Bipolar Disorder

Anxiety Disorders

■ Men in the Baltimore jail

PTSD

Schizophrenia

■ General U.S. population

*Note: Researchers were unable to find reliable data separating men and women with mental illness in the general population, but most sources found there to be similar prevalence.
Source: R. C. Kessler and others, “Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R),” Archives
of General Psychiatry 62, no. 6 (June 2005):617-27; D.A. Regier and others, “The de facto mental and addictive disorders service system. Epidemiologic Catchment Area
prospective 1-year prevalence rates of disorders and services,” Archives of General Psychiatry 50, no. 2 (February 1993):85-94. Retrieved from
www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml; Women: Rachel L. McLean, Jacqueline Robarge, and Susan G. Sherman,
“Release from Jail: Moment of Crisis or Window of Opportunity for Female Detainees?” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 83, no.3
(2006): 382-393 Men: Flower, S., Britt, T., Brooks, R., Lewis, J., & Robarge, J. (2009) The Window Replication Project: A survey conducted by Choice Research Associates and
commissioned by Power Inside, the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Division of Pretrial Detention and Services of the Maryland Department of Public
Safety and Correctional Services, and Catholic Charities of Baltimore. A Preliminary Analysis of Survey Results (unpublished report). Baltimore, MD.

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100,000 people.151 Suicide is second only to illness
in the leading cause of death in jails: 25 percent
of all deaths in jails in 2006 were suicides.152

Substance Abuse
Men and women from each survey reported
substance use. Fifty five percent of women surveyed reported recently using heroin153 and 49
percent of the men reported using heroin in the
30 days prior to their arrest; the majority of
these men (75 percent) used heroin daily.154
Three quarters of women and 35 percent of men
reported wanting drug treatment upon release,
but only 13 percent of women who participated
in the survey reported accessing some form of
drug treatment during incarceration. Nearly 40
percent of women and half of men reported not
having insurance and 53 percent of women and
28 percent of men reported not accessing drug
treatment because they could not afford the fees.
An estimated 68 percent of people in jails across
the country have a substance abuse problem,155
and Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems (BSAS)
estimates that 8,000 Baltimore residents receive
court orders with conditions for treatment
annually.156 Although drug treatment in the
community is more effective than treatment in
prison or jail, quality institutional treatment can
be beneficial and may help with re-entry into
the community. The Baltimore jail provides
substance abuse treatment for select people who
were either participating in methadone programs when they were arrested or who were
court ordered to treatment while incarcerated
through Addicts Changing Together—Substance Abuse Program (ACT-SAP, see below).
Methadone Maintenance
At the initial intake in Central Booking there is
a medical screening, and if a person is determined to have been using heroin, the physician
may prescribe methadone to help with the
detoxification process. If this person was participating in a methadone program in the
community before they were arrested they will

also be identified at the initial screening. Jail
staff will verify that the person was participating
in the program, helping to ensure that he receive
methadone while incarcerated. While originally
the jail only provided methadone to pregnant
women, since January 2008 everyone who was
participating in a program in the community
can now receive methadone treatment while
incarcerated. The methadone program connects
jail officials with methadone clinics to keep
patients on their proper doses and to hold their
treatment slots, helping to ensure a continuation
of care when they are released.157
Addicts Changing Together—
Substance Abuse Program (ACT-SAP)
ACT-SAP provides another option for adults
with substance abuse problems being held in the
Baltimore jail pretrial for nonviolent misdemeanor charges. ACT-SAP (Addicts Changing
Together—Substance Abuse Program) is a therapeutic 45-day court-referred program inside
the jail.158 Baltimore Substance Abuse Services
(BSAS) does an assessment of the person
arrested and makes recommendations to the
judge, who can refer him to the program. Participants in this program stay in dorms outside
of the general population of the jail.
Currently there are 50 beds for men and 30 beds
for women in ACT-SAP. The program consists
of individual and group counseling, life skills
training, anger management, GED courses,
community speakers, role plays, home assignments and stress management classes. People in
this program may also participate in acupuncture services as part of their treatment. The
program also assists people with re-entry, specifically with bringing families together through
Family Mediation Services. Family Mediation
Services brings together the incarcerated person
and the loved one with whom they would like to
reconcile and allows them a safe place to talk to
each other and work past any issues they may be
facing. This program aims to increase their
chances of reunification with family, and the
support that goes with it, after release.

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51

When completes the 45-day program, he is typically released on probation for the remainder of
his sentence. He is recommended to either an
intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a residential program depending on his likelihood of
relapse. When he completes his probation and
has been clean for at least one year he officially
graduates from the program and is free from
court supervision.
ACT-SAP has been working at the jail since 1993
and has very high completion rates: according
to ACT-SAP personnel, 97 to 100 percent of
people will complete the program and 100 percent pass urinalysis.159 One reason for the high
success rates of people who are admitted to the
program is the eligibility requirements of people who participate in the program; only people
with low-level misdemeanor offenses are
allowed to participate. These people may already
be the most likely to succeed and may benefit
more from an appropriate level of treatment in
the community rather than intensive treatment
and programming while incarcerated in the jail.
Furthermore, the people who would otherwise
receive a referral to treatment in the community
as part of their probation or pretrial release are
currently being held in the jail because this program is available instead of being released to
pretrial community supervision.
There is usually a waiting list for the program,
which admits new participants, and graduates
others, on a weekly basis, and ACT-SAP staff is
currently working with judges on expanding the
program so they can help more people. Best
practices call for admissions criteria based on
risk and potential benefits rather than offensetype. This would open up opportunities to reach
those who would most greatly benefit from the
program.

Medication and referrals to treatment
The jail is required by law to provide a 30 day
supply of medication to people leaving the jail if

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they had been receiving this medication while
incarcerated, whether for a mental illness or
physical ailment. However, anecdotes from both
people who work in these facilities and people
who are incarcerated in them tell a different
story—people are not getting the medications
they need at discharge. One reason for this may
be that it is hard to anticipate when someone
will be released. Jails have a very high turnover
rate—some people stay for hours, while others
for months and sometimes years. However, this
lack of a continuation of care from the jail to the
community can mean the difference between
someone succeeding once released and his
returning to jail. The health of the community
may also be put at risk if someone is released
without medication for an infectious disease.

Medicaid and Other Benefits
The first few weeks after a person is released
from jail are critical. Even when the jail does
manage to provide someone with 30 days’ worth
of medication upon release, if their Medicaid or
Social Security status has changed while incarcerated, they may face a gap in treatment once
the provided supply of medication is gone; too
frequently, this can lead to cycling back through
the jail.
The federal government mandates that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits
be suspended when a person is incarcerated for
a full calendar month. If the person is incarcerated for 12 months or more, his or her SSI
benefits are terminated. Most people whose SSI
benefits have been terminated will, upon redetermination, lose Medicaid eligibility as well and
need to apply as a new applicant.160 People who
are on Medicaid but do not receive SSI benefits
remain eligible while incarcerated for up to 30
days.
Currently, people locked up in the Baltimore jail
do not receive any help re-instating benefits
upon release. In the past, the jail has entered into

agreements with the local medical assistance
office, but the jail does not currently have guidelines for what they can provide and how, and it
does not have any applications for Medicaid to
provide to people leaving the jail.161 Other cities
and counties enter into pre-release agreements
with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
and collaborate with their local Social Security
offices to help people obtain SSI and Medicaid
benefits as soon as possible after release.162

Property and Identification
People come to the jail with varying amounts
and types of property, from the clothes on their
back to their life’s belongings in a bag. It is
imperative that their possessions are returned to
them when they are released. However, the
property rooms at the jail are only open Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm. If, as
often happens, someone is released outside of
these hours, he will be leaving without his property—wallet, jacket, health insurance card,
etc.—and will have to come back later to
retrieve it. People who remain incarcerated in
the jail for longer than 30 days must have someone come get their property, or it will be
destroyed by the jail and any money they had is
added to their commissary account.163 Up until
recently, this would include his ID, so that when
he was released he likely had no form of identification. This has now been changed thanks to
the efforts of multiple groups, including Baltimore’s Re-Entry Implementation Council. Now,
if a person is released they will receive their
state-issued identification before they leave,
even if the rest of their property remains at the
facility or has been disposed of.
While the return of identification at release is an
improvement, that a person can be released to
the streets without their coat or wallet is still a
problem that needs to be remedied. It obviously
takes time and resources from the jail to ensure
that people receive their property, but releasing
people without vital personal properties can

have consequences too and may lead to more
challenging circumstances for people being
released—like staying warm or getting home.

Housing
Adequate and affordable housing is one of the
key factors in whether a person will succeed in
the community upon release. Of the 148 women
surveyed who were leaving the jail, only half (54
percent) anticipated stable housing upon
release. One in four women surveyed didn’t
know where she would be staying when she was
released, and among those who did know where
she would be staying, 28 percent anticipated
staying with a family member, 16 percent at
their own home, 13 percent in a residential
treatment program and 8 percent were planning
to stay with friends. For the 200 men surveyed,
nearly two-thirds (63 percent) anticipated stable housing upon release. Still, one in 10 men
surveyed didn’t know where he would be staying when he was released and another 11
percent said they would sleep on the streets, in
a park or move place to place after release.
Studies show that quality affordable housing can
mean the difference between a person returning
to jail and being successful in the community.
For people who are most at risk for criminal justice involvement—such as those with substance
abuse or mental health issues—supportive or
affordable housing has been shown to be a costeffective public investment, lowering corrections
and jail expenditures and freeing up funds for
other public safety investments.164 Additionally,
providing affordable or supportive housing to
people leaving correctional facilities is an effective means of reducing the chance of future
incarceration. A 1998 qualitative study conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice found that
people leaving a correctional facility in New
York City on parole who entered shelters for the
homeless were seven times more likely to
abscond during their first month after release
than those who had some form of housing.165

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One in four women surveyed didn’t know where she
would stay when released from the jail.
Residential
treatment
program
13%

Own
home
16%

Family
member
38%

Friends
8%
Don’t
Know
24%

Abandoned
house
1%

Source: Rachel L. McLean and others, “Release from Jail: Moment of Crisis or Window of
Opportunity for Female Detainees?” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy
of Medicine 83, no.3 (2006): 382-393

Since people being released from the jail often
return to the same few communities, those communities share the responsibility of providing
services. In 2001, almost all people incarcerated
in Maryland prisons returned to Maryland once
released. Of those, 59 percent returned to Balti-

Providing affordable or supportive
housing to people leaving
correctional facilities is an effective
means of reducing the chance of
future incarceration.

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more City, mostly the communities of
Southwest Baltimore, Greater Rosemont, and Sandtown-Winchester/
Harlem Park. Some of these communities received more released individuals
than entire counties in Maryland. As
these communities tend to have higher
crime and poverty rates and fewer
resources, people are released to environments that include many of the risk
factors for recidivism.166 Concentrating
re-entry resources in these communities
may help to break the cycle of incarceration and help people get back on their
feet after release from the jail or prison.

The Baltimore City Re-Entry Implementation
Council, the Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services and numerous non-profit advocacy
organizations and direct service providers in the
city have been working toward creating a better
re-entry system for people leaving the jail, but it
is clear that more needs to be done. Making necessary changes based on evidence of what works
and on best practices in re-entry in other localities will reduce the number of people in the jail;
reduce costs associated with the jail and other
criminal justice costs; improve safety in the jail
and in the community; and improve life trajectories for people re-entering the community.

Recommendations:
1. Release people at scheduled times
from set locations. The Baltimore City
Re-Entry Implementation Council and
the Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services should work together to create a daily schedule for when people
are released from the jail and from
what facility exit. Knowing where people are released can help the City and
non-profit organizations identify where
and when to provide services for people leaving the jail and hopefully create
an avenue for more collaboration
between agencies.
2. Tell people when they will be released.
Administrators at the jail should let people know as soon as possible their
estimated time of release so they can
arrange for pickup and other services.
This will help people who are released
from the jail, and will make neighborhoods around the jail feel safer
because people will not be loitering
outside the jail trying to find a way
home.
3. Improve conditions. The Division of
Pretrial Detention and Services should
improve conditions at the jail. Small
changes like improving laundry services so that people are not washing
their clothes in the toilets could have a
big impact. Updating and improving
conditions in the jail may lead to better
outcomes for people who are confined
there while awaiting trial.
4. Fund preventative treatment for
people with mental illness. Baltimore
City should fund more community
mental health treatment for people
with mental illness before they
become involved in the criminal justice
system. People with mental illness do
not belong in the criminal justice system or in jails and providing

community-based services and medication regardless of ability to pay can
prevent some behaviors that may lead
to arrest or incarceration.
5. Utilize diversion and treatment for
people with substance abuse problems. Judges should refer more people
to drug treatment, as appropriate. But
for the people with substance abuse
problems who judges feel should be
incarcerated for public safety reasons,
judges should make more referrals to
programs like ACT-SAP. The Division of
Pretrial Detention and Services should
work with judges and treatment
providers to expand this and other programs in the jail.
6. Ensure medications and referrals to
treatment upon release. The Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services
needs to develop and implement an
effective process for ensuring that people on medication receive a 30 day
supply upon release. In addition to providing medication for people leaving
the jail, they may need referrals to
treatment for their varying ailments
such as substance abuse or mental
health issues or somatic issues like diabetes. A continuation of care from the
jail facility to the community is another
vital service that the Division of Pretrial
Detention and Services and the City
should collaborate on and provide to
Baltimore residents.
7. Help people enroll in benefits before
they are released. Administrators and
case managers in the jail should ensure
that all eligible people are enrolled or
re-enrolled in Medicaid upon release.
They can start by screening for SSI,
Medicaid and other benefits eligibility
while the person is incarcerated, providing information and necessary forms
to the eligible person and helping them
to complete the applications while they

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

55

are still inside the jail. Through an
agreement with the local Medicaid
office in Baltimore, jail administrators
can provide this important service. The
jail can also help facilitate immediate
access to services for people leaving
the jail by storing their Medicaid cards
with their personal identification cards
instead of the rest of their property so
that when people are released they
don’t have to go to a social services
office to get a new one.
8. Improve personal property policies
and procedures. Jail staff should
refrain from disposing of personal property belonging to people who are
incarcerated pretrial. Because people in
jail often face challenges when trying
to arrange for others to pick up their
property property room hours should
be expanded so more people could
pick up property and the jail could free
up space to hold the property of people
who are awaiting trial in the jail.
9. Coordinate re-entry services. Baltimore lacks a coordinated re-entry
system for people leaving the jail.
Many jurisdictions around the country
either have re-entry agencies run by
the city or county, or they work with
non-profits in their area to provide
these immediate services to people
leaving their local jails. Baltimore City
and the State of Maryland should create such an agency or at a minimum a
full-time staff position that would provide a case management system that

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

works with people while they are incarcerated and also connects them to an
office close to the jail when they are
released. This way there is a system in
place to provide resources to people
when they are most needed. This
agency could keep files on each of its
clients and provide case management
and referrals to services like treatment,
housing and employment that are critical to people leaving correctional
facilities. The agency could be most
effective if it was available right when
people are released, as a first stop on
their way back to the community. Providing these services to people after
their release could have a great impact
on their success in the community and
reduce the likelihood that they will
return to the jail.
10. Follow best practices and models.
The Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services should utilize best practices in
jail re-entry to reduce the number of
people returning to the jail. The National
Institute of Corrections and the Urban
Institute just released the Transition
from Jail to Community (TJC) Implementation Toolkit. This web-based
learning resource is designed to guide
jurisdictions through implementation of
the TJC model, in whole or in part, and
serves as a hands-on resource for users
interested in jail re-entry, whether in a
criminal justice or community-based
organization. The Toolkit is available
here: wws.jailtransition.com/Toolkit.

>
Recognize there are too many
people in the jail, and set a goal for
reducing the jail population.
As the current proposals for new facilities
demonstrate, there is no broad acknowledgement by system stakeholders that the root
problem facing the jail is that there are too many
people held there for too long. A specific
numeric goal should be set for jail population
reduction—say a 20 percent decrease in three
years—by all those who have a role in contributing to the population of the jail. This will
create the sense of urgency and accountability

that will provide momentum for implementing
necessary reforms.

Reform arrest, enforcement and
diversion practices
1. Baltimore police should provide citations rather than arrests for certain
offenses. Baltimore should determine
which policies and practices are causing
more people to go to jail for offenses
that do not create a public safety threat,
like zero tolerance policies that incarcerate people for quality-of-life offenses.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

O

f the 20 largest jails in the country, Baltimore City incarcerates the
largest percentage of its residents. This presents policymakers with
both challenges and opportunities, and multiple criminal justice
agencies in Baltimore have already taken steps to try and reduce the jail
population. But more needs to be done. Cities and counties around the country have
been implementing innovative policies to help reduce their jail populations. At a time
when states have little money to waste on ineffective policies and communities want
to be safe, it is important that localities embrace the evidence-based program and
policies that have been shown to work and will reduce the number of people in jails
and the number of people who return to jails. There are a number of steps that Baltimore could take to improve its criminal justice system and reduce the number of
people in the jail. Based on the research included in this report and best practices
from around the country, we would like to make the following recommendations for
reducing the number of people in the Baltimore jail and ensuring a fair and effective
criminal justice system in Baltimore.

57

About two-thirds of the people currently in the jail are incarcerated for
nonviolent offenses. By reducing the
number of people in jail for these types
of offenses, resources and space could
be directed toward people who may
need to be detained for a public safety
reason. There are a number of low-level
misdemeanor offenses that may be better handled by issuing citations rather
than arrest, including driving on a suspended license, shoplifting, violations
of park rules, trespassing, disorderly
conduct, alcohol-related offenses and
possession of marijuana. Localities like
New York City and some counties in
Texas have already implemented such
policies without any negative impact on
public safety.
A decision to make a behavior a civil matter does not imply a decision to condone,
permit, or not police such behavior.
Instead, it opens up the possibility for reintegrative and non-adversarial solutions
that can strengthen rather than undermine social order. Law enforcement
responses to low-level, nonviolent
offenses use up valuable time and costly
resources from the courts, law enforcement, and the jail; subject individuals
being arrested to unnecessary trauma and
deprivation of liberty; and fail to address
the underlying causes for the behaviors
that led to a person’s arrest. More appropriate and cost-effective responses need to
be developed to replace the default mode
of enforcement, financial penalties, and
confinement.
2. The courts should utilize “Receiving
Centers” for early diversion to keep
people from ever being incarcerated.
Salt Lake City (UT), Bexar County
(TX), and Orange County (FL) currently utilize receiving centers where
individuals who are picked up for nonserious or misdemeanor offenses can be

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

taken instead of jail to assess their
needs, fingerprint them and check for
any outstanding warrants. At this location the person can be released or
diverted to an appropriate program (or
sent to Central Booking if appropriate)
without ever having to be booked, saving time and jail resources, while also
providing services or resources for the
person who was arrested.
3. The Courts should divert people with
mental health and drug treatment
needs to the public health system and
community-based treatment. Research
shows that people who have mental
health or substance abuse problems are
better served by receiving treatment in
their community and that incarceration
can exacerbate these problems. Treatment is more cost-effective than
incarceration and promotes a positive
public safety agenda. Even when treatment is available inside of a correctional
facility, similar treatment in the community is more effective at reducing
recidivism and also costs less.
4. The Division of Parole and Probation
should send fewer people to jail on
violations of probation and follow a
support model of probation supervision. The number of people
incarcerated in the Baltimore jail for
violations of probation has been
increasing over the last five years;
around 500 people are currently
detained in the jail on these violations.
This increase could be for a number of
reasons: probation officers are being
more strict on reporting violations of
probation; judges are setting higher
bails for people who violate their probation that make it difficult for people
to secure their release; or people are
violating their probation more often,

possibly due to increasing difficulties in
following the rules of probation, like
maintaining employment, during these
economic times. Research shows that
the most effective probation systems are
based on support and services, similar
to Maryland’s Proactive Community
Supervision (PCS). As incarceration in
the jail is the most expensive and ineffective modality of supervision, fully
implementing the PCS program would
result in fewer people incarcerated for
violations of probation, freeing up jail
space and better utilizing valuable
resources.

Expand pretrial release and reform
bail practices
5. Maryland should fully utilize the
Offender Case Management System
(OCMS) to streamline the booking
and records process. The Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is in the early stages
of designing and implementing the
Offender Case Management System
(OCMS), which is a large and easily
accessible database of people who have
been or are currently involved in the
Maryland criminal justice system. The
development and rollout of this system
will continue through 2010. This
OCMS should help streamline records
checks and make the booking and
charging process faster and easier. Fully
utilized, OCMS can increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in
Baltimore and collect information that
can be used to recommend needed
services for people upon release.
6. The courts and State’s Attorney’s Office
should set up a mechanism for screening and recommending release on

personal recognizance for people who
are low risk, the same way recommendations are made on individuals who
are high risk. The SAO investigates people with violent or serious histories in the
War Room to make recommendations to
the District Court Commissioner. This
process could also be used for people
with little or no criminal history who
pose no threat to the community and are
likely to return to court. Identifying more
people at the outset who could be
released will save money through
reduced incarceration, less court time,
and reduced workload of Pretrial Release
Investigators.
7. Pretrial investigators should provide
public defenders with criminal history
reports in the same timeframe as the
prosecutors and judge to ensure fair
representation. Frequently the State’s
Attorney’s Office and the judge receive
pretrial reports earlier than counsel
from the public defenders’ office, making it difficult for counsel to adequately
prepare to represent their clients at the
bail review hearing. This may result in
fewer people being released pretrial or
the judge setting higher bail amounts
because counsel cannot adequately
defend their clients’ fitness for pretrial
release. While the Department of Public
Safety and Correctional Services and the
Office of the Public Defender are already
starting to resolve this issue, the public
defender’s office still does not have the
same access to records as other agencies.
In addition, providing more resources to
the public defenders will help reduce
caseloads and improve the quality of
defense provided to each client. Quality
legal counsel may have a positive impact
on the number of people being held in
the jail both pretrial and post-conviction.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

59

8. Baltimore Courts should reform the
bail system. Baltimore should expand its
options for ensuring appearances at
court beyond relying primarily on
money bail. (See section below on
expanding pre-release supervision.) This
alone would reduce the influence of the
commercial bail industry. If policymakers believe money bails should continue
to play a role in the system, they should
consider eliminating the commercial bail
industry, reducing bail amounts and
“cutting out the middle man.” With
insufficient accountability structures in
place, bail bondsmen are neither ensuring their clients show up for court, nor
are being held financially accountable for
full bail amounts when a client fails to
appear. If not eliminated, at the very least
commercial bail companies need to be
more strongly regulated and those regulations enforced, to ensure they are
complying with statutory obligations.
9. Baltimore Courts should increase the
number of people they refer to pretrial
supervision by the Pretrial Release
Supervision Program and the Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services
should expand this program. Pretrial
release is both less expensive and less
harmful than pretrial incarceration.
Individuals who are released pretrial
can stay with their families and maintain employment and community ties,
and be protected from some of the negative consequences of incarceration.
The Pretrial Release Supervision Program has been shown to have low
failure to appear rates and low re-arrest
rates for people under its supervision,
lower than the rest of the country.
Increasing the number of people supervised under this program will reduce
the jail population, potentially save millions of dollars and untold hours in

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

court and law enforcement time in following up with warrants for people
who do not show up to court.
A number of organizations around the
country work directly with localities on
alleviating crowding in their jails and
planning and implementing policies
around pretrial release. Baltimore could
solicit the help of one of these organizations to work with officials on
improving specific policies and practices associated with pretrial release and
incarceration.
10. The Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services should continue
to evaluate the effectiveness of the Violence Prevention Initiative program.
DPSCS already works with consultants
to evaluate the Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) program, but as it
consumes a lot of law enforcement and
court resources and the benefits are not
yet proven, it should continuously be
evaluated. An evaluation of the program’s effectiveness in terms of public
safety, costs and life outcomes for people
in the program is integral in determining whether it should be continued.

Increase coordination between
Baltimore agencies
11. Baltimore City and Maryland should
foster greater coordination and understanding between agencies. While the
Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee is a promising place for individual
agencies to meet and discuss emerging
and ongoing issues within the justice system, a lack of communication and
understanding between agencies still
exists. Implementing an inter-agency
council that includes both state and city
agencies and requires some form of
memorandum of understanding about

decisions regarding the jail could benefit
both the State of Maryland and Baltimore City. Having greater coordination
and collaboration between the city and
state agencies involved in the jail system
could greatly assist efforts to improve
public safety while reducing the jail population and saving money. Furthermore,
involving community organizations that
work with people leaving the jail would
provide valuable insight and give these
groups a voice in the process.
12. Baltimore City should establish mandatory community impact reports when
agencies decide to change or implement
new policies or practices. When one part
of the criminal justice system changes
policy it affects all parts of the system, as
well as the larger Baltimore community.
Establishing community impact reports
for agencies wishing to implement new
policies will ensure that all agencies’
needs are accounted for and that certain
areas are not impacted more than others.
For example, when the police decide to
do a sweep of a certain neighborhood,
this can have a strong impact on the jail
population, not to mention on the neighborhood experiencing the sweep.
Community impact reports are already
used in places like Los Angeles, California
and Harris County (Houston), Texas
when new policies or structures are being
considered.

Update court processes
13. Baltimore Courts should set up a
reminder system for people whose
court date is approaching. Multiple
localities across the country are experimenting with both automated and live
calling systems to remind people of
their court dates, like the Court Appearance
Notification
System
in

Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon or the Court Date Notification
Program in Jefferson County (Denver),
Colorado. Just as your doctor will call
you the day before your appointment as
a reminder, setting up a system of calling, emailing or texting individuals to
remind them of their court date may
reduce the number of failure to appears,
saving the courts time and saving law
enforcement resources.
14. Baltimore Courts should reduce the
length of time between arrest and court
date and address the problem of postponements. As it is now, some people
are held pretrial for 30 or more days only
to have their case dismissed or to receive
probation without jail time or even to
receive a shorter sentence than they have
already served. In the meantime, individuals who have been locked up may
have lost their jobs, had their education
derailed, or not met child custody or
support expectations. The judges in the
Circuit Court have already started working on the problem of postponements
through the Reception Court, but there
is still a continuing problem with people
staying in jail for long periods of time
due to rescheduling trial dates. Focusing
on providing timely and quality legal
proceedings for individuals facing
charges could reduce the length of pretrial detention, saving money while also
providing better outcomes for individuals who need to go to trial.
15. Baltimore Courts should expand
court hours. Many cities, like New
York, have instituted night and weekend
courts to reduce backlogs of cases.
While this will also require additional
attorney resources, it will more than pay
for itself by reducing the average length
of stay of people in the jail. In addition,

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

61

with more regular court time available,
it will reduce the need for the “special”
courts such as the Early Resolution
Court that can be seen as coercive. Lack
of available, accurate court data is also
hampering efforts to make the system
more efficient. Some jurisdictions have
engaged independent organizations
that specialize in helping jurisdictions
evaluate and improve upon their court
systems. Working with one of these
groups to make even small system
changes could make the court process
more efficient and fair.
16. The Division of Parole and Probation
and Baltimore Police Department
should collect better data on violations of probation (VOP) to reduce the
number of people being held in the jail
for this offense. As Judge Murdock at
the Circuit Court said during her interview with JPI’s researcher, “How can I
affect change if I don’t have the data
available?” Currently it is difficult to tell
from data who is being held for a violation of probation and who was arrested
for a new offense. If it is a minor offense
and the person is on probation, it may
be easier administratively to hold them
for violation of probation rather than
open up a new case. However, this practice does not give an accurate sense of
who is incarcerated for technical violations of probation like missed
appointments or failing a drug test, versus the people who were arrested for a
new and unrelated offense. Clarifying
this inconsistency and collecting more
accurate data on types of revocations
and new offenses for people on probation can help to build better policy
around who is detained and who is
released.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

17. Baltimore Courts should close pending Violation of Probation (VOP)
cases more quickly. The courts only
hear VOP cases once a month and
sometimes even less frequently. This
means that if an individual on probation is picked up on a technical
violation that warrants arrest he could
be detained for 30 days or more waiting
to see a judge. Increasing the frequency
at which these cases are heard, through
more collateral docket days or allowing
VOP cases to be heard on regular dockets, will lead to fewer jail days for
individuals in this situation and allow
them to remain in the community so
they can maintain employment and be
with their families.

Provide more, and better, re-entry
services
18. Maryland and Baltimore should provide more funding for front-end
services such as education, employment, treatment and housing.
Research has shown that education,
employment, drug treatment, health
care, and the availability of affordable
housing coincide with better outcomes
for people leaving correctional facilities.
Jurisdictions that spend more money
on these services are likely to experience
lower crime rates and lower incarceration rates. An increase in spending on
education, employment and other services not only would improve public
safety, but also would enhance and
enrich the community to the benefit of
all Baltimore residents. Issues around
“who pays for what” could be resolved
so that one level of government or part
of the system doesn’t bear the costs
while another reaps the savings.

19. Baltimore City and the Division of
Pretrial Detention and Services
should establish a coordinated reentry office. With the thousands of
people who cycle in and out annually,
the jail and the entire criminal justice
system in Baltimore have the opportunity to reach people with appropriate
services that they may not be receiving
in the community. Creating a position
or office within the jail that is connected to an office outside of the jail to
assist in coordination and continuation
of re-entry services can lead to positive
outcomes for people who need services
when they are released.
20. The Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services should improve conditions at the jail. As crowding,
unsanitary conditions and lack of services in the correctional facilities is
associated with poorer outcomes after
release, improvements to the jail environment could have a positive impact
on public safety.
21. Jail administrators should maintain a
regular daily schedule of times and
places for releases from the jail to help
city and community agencies plan
their re-entry services. With some people being released in the middle of the
night and others throughout the day it
is difficult to pinpoint good times for
services to be made available. Identifying set hours for services could focus
resources at the most opportune times
to reach the most people.
22. Judges and the courts should refer
more people to substance abuse treatment and diversion programs. As
around half of the people leaving the
Baltimore jail may have a substance
abuse problem it seems prudent that

treatment be made available to help
ensure better outcomes. While treatment in the community is shown to be
more effective than treatment in jails,
providing appropriate treatment
opportunities for people while they are
incarcerated can make a difference.
Judges should increase the number of
people they refer to treatment and work
with Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services to offer more treatment services in the jail.
23. The Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services should consistently provide people with 30 day supplies of
medication and referrals for treatment
as necessary for people leaving the jail.
In addition, the jail should partner with
local Medicaid offices to help people reenroll in Medicaid and other federal
benefits to ensure a continuation of
care once they are released to the community. This partnership will benefit
people who require these services to
maintain good health and treatment as
well as the communities to which they
return. Providing re-entry services such
as medication and referrals for treatment can mean the difference between
someone succeeding in the community
and returning to the jail.
24 The Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services should improve its policies and procedures on personal
property. Many people in the jail face
challenges when trying to have their
personal property picked up by people
outside the jail and their property is
destroyed if it is not picked up within
30 days of arrest. Property hours are
only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. often making it difficult for people to claim
property, whether they are picking it up
for someone else or they are being

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

63

released from jail and want to gather
their own things. Jail administrators
should expand these hours and also
implement a policy that people who are
pretrial do not have their property

destroyed. This will allow for more people to pick up their property and for
people to be released with their personal
property, which can include important
things like coats and wallets.

The unique design of the Baltimore criminal justice system calls for innovative policies and practices to support safe and strong communities in Baltimore. Both
Baltimore City and the State of Maryland have a stake in making this happen through
their separate, but connected, roles in the justice system. The construction of two
additional jail facilities in Baltimore City, at the expense of all Maryland taxpayers,
will have a lasting impact on the number of people incarcerated in Baltimore and
ultimately the state. Exploring alternatives to increasing the number of jail beds in
Baltimore will save money in the long run and create more opportunities for people
directly affected by the system. Baltimore and Maryland are at a critical point with
their jail and their budgets, and implementing effective policies that are shown to
reduce jail populations and costs associated with the criminal justice system and
improve communities can have lasting benefits to all Maryland residents.

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

>

The 20 largest jails in the U.S., ranked by percent of population incarcerated in the local jail
Jurisdiction

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

Baltimore City, MD
Shelby County, TN
Philadelphia City, PA
Orange County, FL
Hillsborough County, FL
Sacramento County, CA
Broward County, FL
Alameda County, CA
Miami-Dade County, FL
San Bernardino County, CA
Santa Clara County, CA
Dallas County, TX
Bexar County, TX
Harris County, TX
Maricopa County, AZ
Los Angeles County, CA
Orange County, CA
Cook County, IL
San Diego County, CA
New York City, NY

Total Population
2008/2009

637,418
920,232
1,447,395
1,086,480
1,195,317
1,400,949
1,766,476
1,491,482
2,500,625
2,017,673
1,784,642
2,451,730
1,651,448
4,070,989
4,023,132
9,848,011
3,026,786
5,287,037
3,053,793
8,363,710

Average daily jail % of jurisdiction’s
population, 2008 population in jail

4,010
5,765
8,811
4,294
3,985
4,563
5,500
4,371
7,050
5,593
4,660
6,385
4,062
10,000
9,265
19,836
6,000
9,900
5,363
13,849

0.629%
0.626%
0.609%
0.395%
0.333%
0.326%
0.311%
0.293%
0.282%
0.277%
0.261%
0.260%
0.246%
0.246%
0.230%
0.201%
0.198%
0.187%
0.176%
0.166%

APPENDIX

Baltimore locks up the highest percentage of its population
out of the top 20 largest jails in the country

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Finder, www.factfinder.census.gov; Todd D. Minton and William J. Sabol, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2008
(Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009), http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/jim08st.pdf

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

65

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

>

Arraignment - usually a person’s first appearance in court or before a judge on a criminal
charge. At arraignment, the charges against
them will be read or the person will be asked if
he/she is aware of the charges against them, and
will be asked how they wish to plead. It is not a
hearing to determine guilt or innocence. Court
dates are often set at arraignment.
Booked/Booking - a procedure at a jail or police
station following an arrest in which information
about the arrest (such as the time, the name of
the arrested person, and the crime for which the
arrest was made) is entered in the police register. At this time the person who was arrested has
their personal information and criminal record
reviewed and entered into the system, and he or
she is fingerprinted and photographed.
Central Home Detention Unit (CDHU) - People in the Central Home Detention Unit
(CDHU) are being supervised and electronically
monitored in their home rather than in the jail.
Home detention participants are supervised 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. In the CHDU office,
police communications operators monitor the
computer stations continuously. Case managers/parole officers provide ongoing counseling
and work placement services. Certified personnel prescribe treatment plans that may include
drug/alcohol treatment, education, and crisis
intervention counseling. The program also utilizes urinalysis to monitor drug use.
Detainer - a notification sent by a prosecutor,
judge, or other official advising a jail official that
a person in their jail is wanted to answer charges
for another jurisdiction or agency and requesting continued detention of the person or
notification of the person’s impending release.
Detainers may include open warrants from
other counties or states and other issues that
may cause the person to not be permitted to
leave the facility.
District Court Commissioner - Person
appointed by the district court judge who makes
the initial decision as to whether accused indi-

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JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

viduals can be released from jail before trial and
sets bail amounts.
Kaizen - A meeting held to facilitate more effective processes within a system-in this case, the
criminal justice system in Maryland. Kaizen literally means “change is good.”
Nolle Prosequi - an entry in a criminal action
denoting that the prosecutor will not prosecute
the case further in whole or as to one or more of
several counts or one or more of several people
charged. When a nolle prosequi has been
entered on a charge, any conditions of pretrial
release on that charge are terminated, and any
bail bond posted for the person on that charge
shall be released.
Pre-Trial - Existing or occurring before the trial.
Sally Port - a secure entryway (as at the Central
Booking and Intake Center) that consists of a
series of doors or gates. This is the primary
entrance to Central Booking before an individual is screened.
Sub-Curia - means that the court is holding the
motion for sentence modification until such a
time as the defendant or his attorney, if applicable, notifies it that they are ready to proceed on
the hearing. This usually happens when, for
example, the modification will only be granted
if the defendant completes something like
drug/alcohol treatment or anger management.
The reason it must be held sub curia is because
this motion is due within 90 days of sentencing,
but the defendant wants to wait longer than that
for the hearing to take place.
Violent Repeat Offender - defined by the State’s
Attorney’s Office as:
1. An offender who is on probation or
parole for a crime of violence (COV) or
firearm offense and is arrested on any
offense.
2. An offender who is charged with a COV
or firearm offense and is on probation
or parole for any offense.

3. An offender who is charged with a COV
or firearm offense and is pending a
COV, firearm offense, or felony narcotics case.
4. An offender who has been identified as
a VRO by law enforcement agencies.
Volunteers of America - operates a Supervised
Residential Facility providing a secure 24 hour
supervised residence for men with misdemeanor and minor felony charges which is
designed to alleviate overcrowded conditions at

the Baltimore City Detention Center.
War Room - an interagency effort that carefully
reviews the cases of people involved in violent or
serious offenses to make more informed decisions
as to their safe release to the community pretrial.
The Department of Pretrial Detention and Services (DPDS), the Division of Parole and Probation
(DPP), the Baltimore City Police Department and
the State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) are all involved
in the War Room review process.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

67

ENDNOTES

>

1

19th largest local jail jurisdiction. Todd D. Minton and
William J. Sabol, Jail Inmates at Midyear 2008 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009),
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/jim08st.pdf, p. 7
2

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services

3

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

4

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services population
briefing for the Baltimore Criminal Justice Coordinating
Council
5

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Daily Population Report, January 4, 2010

6

U.S. Census Bureau, Population Finder, www.factfinder.
census.gov; Todd D. Minton and William J. Sabol, 2009

7

FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States,
www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm
8

See Justice Policy Institute, Public Safety Research,
www.justicepolicy.org
9

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, FY
2011 Proposed Operating Budget Detail, Volume II, Public
Safety and Correctional Services (Annapolis, MD: Maryland
Department of Budget and Management, 2010)
http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Documents/
2011/Proposed/pubsafcor.pdf
10
Julie Bykowicz, “Md. moving forward on detention center projects,” The Baltimore Sun, August 20, 2009
11

A Kaizen is a meeting held to facilitate more effective
processes within a system, in this case the criminal justice
system in Baltimore.
12

Todd D. Minton and William J. Sabol, 2009, Table 7.

13

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services,
www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/22dpscs/html/22agen.h
tml#central

14

Chapter 59, Acts of 1991

15

From now on in this report, the Central Booking and
Intake Center will be referred to as “Central Booking.” The
Baltimore City Detention Center, which includes the
Women’s Detention Center and other buildings in the jail
complex that hold people pretrial and for short sentences,
will be referred to as the “Detention Center.” The entirety
of the jail complex, including the Central Booking and the
Detention Center, will be referred to as the “Baltimore jail.”

16

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Daily Population Report, January 4, 2010

17

Todd D. Minton and William J. Sabol, 2009, Table 7.

18

Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services,
www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/22dpscs/html/22agen.h
tml#central

19

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

20

Personal interviews

21

Personal interview, Baltimore City Official, February 3,
2010

22
See Edward Ericson Jr., “Justice Undone: City State’s
Attorney Patricia Jessamy Asserts At Hearing That Police

68

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

Arrest Tactics Are Unconstitutional,” Baltimore City Paper,
January 11, 2006 ww.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=11331
23

In a class-action lawsuit filed against the Baltimore City
Police Department in June 2006 (NAACP v. BPD), the
ACLU charges that Baltimore police arrest thousands of
people without just cause each year. The suit targets both
city and state officials for their role in making illegal arrests
and mistreating the wrongfully arrested at Central Booking.
Source: American Civil Liberties Union, “New Plaintiffs
Join ACLU Illegal Arrests Lawsuit, Call on City Police to
Finally End Unconstitutional Practices”, December 2007.
www.aclu.org/free-speech/new-plaintiffs-join-aclu-illegalarrests-lawsuit-call-city-police-finally-end-unconstitu

24

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Population
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

25

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Population
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

26

American Civil Liberties Union, December 2007.

27

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Population
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council,
March 2010

28

Baltimore Police Department, Quality Assurance Unit,
Planning and Research Section, as reported to the Uniform
Crime Reporting Unit of the Maryland State Police, provided March 30, 2010.

29

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Population
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council,
March 2010

30
Phillip Beatty and others, The Vortex: The Concentrated
Impact of Drug Imprisonment and the Characteristics of Punitive Counties (Washington, D.C.: Justice Policy Institute,
2007) www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/07-12_REP_
Vortex_AC-DP.pdf
31

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, Population
Briefing presented to the Criminal Justice Coordinating
Council, March 2010.
32

Maryland State budget documents, provided by Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services

33

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

34

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services

35

Volunteers of America operates a Supervised Residential
Facility which is designed to alleviate overcrowded conditions at the Baltimore City Detention Center, providing a
secure 24 hour supervised residence for men with misdemeanor and minor felony charges.

36

People in the Central Home Detention Unit (CDHU) are
being supervised and electronically monitored in their
home rather than in the jail. Home detention participants
are supervised 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the CHDU
office, police communications operators monitor the computer stations continuously. Case managers/parole officers
provide ongoing counseling and work placement services.
Certified personnel prescribe treatment plans that may
include drug/alcohol treatment, education, and crisis intervention counseling. The program also utilizes urinalysis to
monitor drug use.

37

Sub curia means that the court is holding the motion for
sentence modification until such a time as the defendant or
his attorney, if applicable, notifies it that they are ready to
proceed on the hearing. This usually happens when, for
example, the modification will only be granted if the defendant completes something like drug/alcohol treatment or
anger management. The reason it must be held sub curia is
because this motion is due within 90 days of sentencing, but
the defendant wants to wait longer than that for the hearing to take place.
38

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

39

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council,
March 2010
40

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services

41

Analysis of the FY 2011 Maryland Executive Budget, 2010,
New Youth Detention Facility (Baltimore City)
http://house.state.md.us/2010rs/budget_docs/all/Capital/QP00A_-_New_Youth_Detention_Facility.pdf

42

Julie Bykowicz, “Md. moving forward on detention center projects,” The Baltimore Sun, August 20, 2009
43

Commissioner Bealefeld’s report to Baltimore Criminal
Justice Coordinating Council Meeting, March 2010

population (3,628) x 68%=2,467 people with dependence
or abuse. Source: Jennifer C. Karberg and Doris J. James,
Substance Dependence, Abuse, and Treatment of Jail Inmates,
2002 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2005)
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/sdatji02.pdf
56

Maryland Department of Budget and Management,
2010, pages 676-677

57

Steve Aos and others, The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Programs to Reduce Crime (Olympia, Washington
State Institute for Public Policy, 2001) www.wsipp.wa.gov

58

The process for women being booked is nearly identical
as for men, but women are separated from the men at
booking and throughout the entire detention process.

59

The DPSCS website says that the booking process should
take less than 4 hours, and all people are booked and
receive an initial hearing with the commissioner in less
than 24 hours. www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/ 22dpscs/
html/22agen.html

60
If an individual’s case is dismissed or if they are acquitted
of the charges, the DNA sample is destroyed.
61

A Violent Repeat Offender is defined by the State’s Attorney’s Office as:
• An offender who is on probation or parole for a crime
of violence (COV) or firearm offense and is arrested
on any offense.

44

Just Kids: A Partnership to End the Incarceration of
Youth in Adult Jails, Position Paper on the Construction
of a New Youth Detention Center in Baltimore City, March
30, 2010

• An offender who is charged with a COV or firearm
offense and is on probation or parole for any offense.

45

For more information on the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, please visit www.jdaihelpdesk.org/

• An offender who is charged with a COV or firearm
offense and is pending a COV, firearm offense, or
felony narcotics case.

46

Howard N. Snyder and Michelle Sickmund, Juvenile
Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report (Washington,
D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2006)

47

Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010, provided by Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services

48
This data was not disaggregated by new offense versus
technical violation of probation.
49

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

50

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Documents
/2011/Proposed/pubsafcor.pdf
51

Maryland Department of Budget and Management,
Budget Books FY02-FY11.

52

Maryland Department of Budget and Management, 2010

53

FY2011 budget ($5,863,646)/Average number of people
supervised yearly (6,500)/365=$2.47/day

54

Detention Center: 1,000 people x $100/day x 30
days=$3,000,000
Pretrial Release Supervision Program: 1,000 people x
$2.5/day x 30 days=$75,000
Difference=$2,925,000

55
A national study of people in jails across the country
found that in 2002, 68 percent of people in jails suffered
with dependence or abuse of alcohol or drugs. Maryland jail

• An offender who has been identified as a VRO by law
enforcement agencies.
62

Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, War
Room Project Progress Report, 10/1/2009 to 12/31/2009, Presented to Baltimore Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
in March 2010.
63
A class action, right-to-counsel lawsuit has been filed
under Richmond v. District Court to allow people to have
counsel at initial bail hearings, but no decision has been
made by the court at the time of this publication. See text
box Debate: Should people have lawyers available at the initial bail hearing?
64

The Abell Foundation, The Pretrial Release Project: A Study
of Maryland’s Pretrial Release and Bail System (Baltimore,
MD: The Abell Foundation, 2001) www.abell.org/
pubsitems/hhs_pretrial_9.01.pdf Appendix D: 1998 AND
1999 Commissioner’s Report – Initial Appearance, Tables
8(a) – 8(d)
65

Detainers include open warrants from other counties or
states and other issues that may cause the person to not be
permitted to leave the facility.
66

Women are moved to the Women’s Detention Center to
await bail review.

67

Personal interview, Assistant Warden Carolyn Scruggs of
the Central Booking and Intake Center, January 2010

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

69

68

In Stack, the Supreme Court wrote that release before
trial was “conditioned upon the accused’s giving assurance
that he will stand trial and submit to punishment if found
guilty,” and that bail “must be based on standards relevant
to the purpose of assuring the presence of defendants.”
Stack v. Boyle (342 U.S. 1 (1951))

87

69

88

In 1987 in U.S. v. Salerno (481 U.S. 739), the U.S.
Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of pretrial
detention under the “danger” provision of the Federal Bail
Reform Act of 1984. It declared “preventing danger to the
community” to be “a legitimate regulatory goal.”

70

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

71

Average End of Month population by inmates who must
post a single bail of $5,000 or less to be released, who do
not have detainers. Source: Division of Pretrial Detention
and Services population briefing for the Criminal Justice
Coordinating Council
72

Detainers include open warrants from other counties or
states and other issues that may cause the person to not be
permitted to leave the facility.
73

Jail Daily Extract, January 4, 2010, provided by Division
of Pretrial Detention and Services

74

The Abell Foundation, 2001

75

The Abell Foundation, 2001

76

State Court Processing Statistics, 2002

77

Jail Daily Extract, February 17, 2010

78

The Abell Foundation, The Pretrial Release Project: A
Study of Maryland’s Pretrial Release and Bail System (Baltimore,
MD:
The
Abell
Foundation,
2001)
www.abell.org/pubsitems/hhs_pretrial_9.01.pdf Survey of
Bail Practices in Five Maryland Counties

The Abell Foundation, 2001.

89

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Population
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council,
March 2010
90

Thomas H. Cohen and Brian A. Reaves, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 2002 (Washington, D.C.:
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006) Table 20.
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fdluc02.pdf

91

Thomas H. Cohen and Brian A. Reaves, 2006, Table 21.

92

See footnote 52. Maryland Department of Budget and
Management, 2010, 676-677.
93

Office of Probation and Pretrial Services, Benefits of
Supervision (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 2007)
www.ksp.uscourts.gov/about/InternetBenefits_of_Supervision1.
pdf
94

Analysis of the Jail Daily Extract, February 17, 2010, provided by Division of Pretrial Detention and Services

95

Aimee Green, “Wake-Up Call: You Are Due in Court,” The
Oregonian, October 17, 2007. www.co.multnomah.or.us/dcj/
oregonlivewakeupcall101707.pdf

96
Jefferson County, Colorado, Court Date Notification Program: Six Month Program Summary. (Jefferson County,
Colorado: Jefferson County Criminal Justice Strategic
Planning Committee, 2007). www.co.jefferson.co.us/
jeffco/cjp_uploads/Jeffco_CDN_Six_Month_Report.pdf
97

Thomas H. Cohen and Brian A. Reaves, 2006

79

The Abell Foundation, 2001, Survey of Bail Practices in
Five Maryland Counties

Division of Pretrial Detention and Services Populations
Briefing for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council

80

99

Center for Poverty Solutions, Barriers to Stability: Homelessness and Incarceration’s Revolving Door in Baltimore City
(Baltimore, MD: Center for Poverty Solutions, 2002)
www.soros.org/initiatives/baltimore/
articles_publications/publications/barriersstability/
barriers_to_stability.pdf
81

The Abell Foundation, 2001, Survey of Bail Practices in
Five Maryland Counties

82

Thomas H. Cohen, Ph.D. and Brian A. Reaves, Ph.D, Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts
(Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2007)
83

Laura Sullivan, “Bail Burden Keeps U.S Jails Stuffed With
Inmates,” National Public Radio, January 21, 2010.
www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyID=122725771
84
Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy, “Phila. D.A. says bail
system is ‘broken,’” The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 20,
2010.
85

The Truth About Commercial Bail Bonding in America
(Washington, D.C.: The National Association of Pretrial
Services Agencies, 2009).
86

70

Chris Landers, “Cashing Out: The bail bonds industry in
Baltimore is huge, complicated, and largely unregulated,”
Baltimore City Paper, July 2, 2008; Melissa Harris, “In Md.,
many get discount on bail,” The Baltimore Sun, February
20, 2008, http://articles.baltimoresun.coom/2008-0220/news/0802200092_1_bondsmen-bail-bondsman

Laura Sullivan, January 21, 2010.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

98

Some of the $100/day jail costs (such as administration
and physical plant) will only be reduced if the reduction in
population results in downsizing staff or physical plant.
37,744 people x 5 days x $100=$18,872,000

100

http://mdcourts.gov/district/about.html

101

Justice Matters, Baltimore’s Early Resolution Court Combines Justice, Fast Disposition, www.courts.state.md.us/
district/archive/earlyresolution.pdf
102
Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Annual Statistical Report, January thru December 2009, Presented to
Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
meeting, March 2010
103

Michael J. Kelly and Efrem Levy, Making the “System”
Work in the Baltimore Criminal Justice System: An Evaluation of Early Disposition Court (Prepared for the Baltimore
Efficiency & Economy Foundation, March 2002)

104
Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, Annual Statistical Report, March 2010
105

Faye S. Taxman and Lori Elis,“Expediting Court Dispositions: Quick Results, Uncertain Outcomes,” Journal of
Research in Crime and Delinquency 36, no. 30 (1999), page 49

106

Faye S. Taxman and Lori Elis, 1999, page 49

107

The State’s Attorney may terminate a prosecution on a
charge and dismiss the charge by entering a nolle prosequi
on the record in open court. When a nolle prosequi has
been entered on a charge, any conditions of pretrial release
on that charge are terminated, and any bail bond posted
for the person on that charge shall be released.
108

Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, March 2010

109

See, for example, Anne Rankin, “The Effect of Pretrial
Detention,” New York University Law Review 39 (1964),
641–655; Michael R. Gottfredson and Don M. Gottfredson,
Decision Making in Criminal Justice: Toward a Rational
Exercise of Discretion (New York: Plenum Press, 1988);
Williams, “The Effect of Pretrial Detention on Imprisonment Decisions,” 299–316; C. E. Frazier and J.K. Cochran,
“Detention of Juveniles: Its Effects on Subsequent Juvenile
Court Processing and Decisions,” Youth and Society 17, no.
3 (1986): 286-305
110

Rod Morgan, “England/Wales,” in Dünkel and Vagg,
Waiting for Trial, 198.
111

Ryan J. Reilly, “Marshals Gear Up For Summer ‘Safe Surrenders’,” Main Justice, April 12, 2010. www.mainjustice.com/
2010/04/12/marshals-gear-up-for-summer-safesurrenders/
112

Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, District of Columbia, “Fugitive Safe Surrender in Washington
DC- Radio Transcript,” April 2008. http://media.csosa.gov/
podcast/transcripts/2008/04/fugitive-safe-surrender-inwashington-dc-radio-transcript/
113
United States Marshals Service, “Fugitive Safe Surrender-Camden,” November 2008. www.justice.gov/marshals/
safesurrender/camden.htm
114
Justin Fenton, “City Seeking to Draw in Fugitives,” Baltimore Sun, March 13, 2009. www.baltimoresun.com/news/
local/baltimore_city/balmd.ci.surrender13mar13,0,416589.story
115
United States Marshals Service, “Fugitive Safe Surrender- Detroit,” June 2008. www.justice.gov/marshals/
safesurrender/detroit.htm
116

United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, “More Than 140 Suspects Arrested in Baltimore
Roundup,” December 2007. www.justice.gov/usao/md/
PublicAffairs/press_releases/press07/MoreThan140Suspect
sArrestedinBaltimoreFugitiveRoundup.html

Division, March 4, 2010.
122

Personal Interview with Judge M. Brooke Murdock,
March 4, 2010.

123

Md. Rule 4-271

124

The State of Maryland requires all people to be tried in
180 days after their attorney’s make their initial appearance
before the court (Hicks rule— Md. Rule 4-271), but a person who is being charged can waive this right to a speedy
trial (Hicks waiver).
125
Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention,
Maryland’s Comprehensive State Crime Control and Prevention Plan2009 -2011 (Towson, MD: GOCCP)
www.goccp.maryland.gov/documents/crime-plan0911.pdf
126
Data provided by Bruce Brown, Division of Parole and
Probation, Baltimore City, April 1, 2010.
127
Personal interview with Bruce Brown, Division of Parole
and Probation, Baltimore City, April 1, 2010
128

In 1996, two thirds of released individuals returned to a
city, up from 50 percent in 1984. Source: Lynch and Sabol,
Prisoner Reentry in Perspective (Washington, D.C.: The
Urban Institute, 2001) cited in La Vigne and others, A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Maryland (Washington, D.C.:
The Urban Institute, 2003), pg. 3. www.urban.org/Uploaded
PDF/410655_MDPortraitReentry.pdf
129

Rachel L. McLean, Jacqueline Robarge, and Susan G.
Sherman, “Release from Jail: Moment of Crisis or Window
of Opportunity for Female Detainees?” Journal of Urban
Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 83,
no.3 (2006): 382-393
130

Adam Van de Water, Legislative Analyst Report: Criminal
Justice Offender Profile (San Francisco, CA: City and
County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 2003).
131
John Roman and others, Impact and Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Maryland Reentry Partnership Initiative
(Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 2007), pg. i.
132

Stories were obtained through personal interviews,
Spring 2010

133

Marc L. Zayon of Roland Walker & Marc L. Zayon, P.A.
www.walkerzayon.com

134

For more information, please see the Maryland Re-Entry
Partnership website, www.catholiccharities-md.org/ourdaily-bread/md-reentry/

117

The two sets of courts are located at Courthouse East
and Mitchell Courthouse. Each courthouse has its own
arraignment court, reception court, and four trial courts.

135
See Melissa Sorger, “Breaking the cycle for ex-cons,” The
Examiner, March 14, 2008. www.examiner.com/a1278056~Breaking_the_cycle_for_ex_cons.html

118
Baltimore City Circuit Court, Criminal Docket—Policies and Procedures, Accessed March 8, 2010,
www.baltocts.state.md.us/criminal/crim-pract.htm

136

We Can Achieve provides mentoring, consulting and
educational services like writing curriculum and providing
technical assistance.

119

137

Baltimore City Circuit Court, Criminal Docket—Policies and Procedures, Accessed March 8, 2010,
120

Data provided by Bruce Brown, Division of Parole and
Probation, Baltimore City, April 1, 2010.

121
Personal Interview with Judge M. Brooke Murdock,
Judge-in-Charge, Baltimore City Circuit Court, Criminal

Baltimore Rising, Inc. is a quasi-governmental, nonprofit organization that provides family strengthening and a
variety of services and supports in Baltimore to help people
released from prison or jail and to families and communities.
For more information, please see their website at www.baltimorecity.gov/Government/QuasiAgencies/BaltimoreRising
Inc.aspx

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

71

138

Ralph F. Boyd, Investigation of Conditions at the Baltimore
City Detention Center (United States Department of Justice;
Civil Rights Division, 2002). www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/
documents/baltimore_findings_let.php
139

The Baltimore Sun, “Inhuman and Unconscionable,”
August 20, 2009, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/200908-20/news/0908190053_1_prisoners-health-care-medical
-care

140

American Civil Liberties Union, “ACLU Forces Sweeping Improvements at Baltimore City Jail.” August 2009.
www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/aclu-forces-sweepingimprovements-baltimore-city-jail
141

See Testimony of Professor Craig Haney, Prison Overcrowding: Harmful Consequences and Dysfunctional
Reactions (Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s
Prisons, 2006) www.prisoncommission.org/statements/
haney_craig.pdf
142

F. DiCataldo and others, “Screening Prison Inmates for
Mental Disorder: An Examination of the Relationship
Between Mental Disorder and Prison Adjustment,” Bulletin
of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law 23 (1995):
573, 574.

143
Division of Correction Frequently Asked Questions,
www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/corrections/fa
q.html#anchor33
144

Power Inside is a multidisciplinary program that is committed to building self-sufficiency and preventing
incarceration among women and families in Baltimore
through direct client services, advocacy, leadership development and public education. Visit them at
www.powerinside.org
145
Rachel L. McLean, Jacqueline Robarge, and Susan G.
Sherman, 2006.
146

Flower, S., Britt, T., Brooks, R., Lewis, J., & Robarge, J.
(2009) The Window Replication Project: A survey conducted by Choice Research Associates and commissioned
by Power Inside, the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of
Criminal Justice, the Division of Pretrial Detention and
Services of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services, and Catholic Charities of Baltimore.
A Preliminary Analysis of Survey Results (unpublished
report). Baltimore, MD.
147

Rachel L. McLean, Jacqueline Robarge, and Susan G.
Sherman, 2006
148

Flower, S., Britt, T., Brooks, R., Lewis, J., & Robarge, J. 2009

149

Paula M. Ditton, Mental Health and Treatment of
Inmates and Probationers (Washington D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/
pub/pdf/mhtip.pdf

72

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

150

Lindsay. M Hayes and Eric Blaauw, “Prison suicide: A
Special Issue,” Crisis: The Journal of Crisis and Suicide Prevention 18, No. 4 (2002).
151

Christopher J. Mumola, Suicide and Homicide in State
Prisons and Local Jails (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2005). http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/
pub/pdf/shsplj.pdf

152
Bureau of Justice Statistics, Deaths in Custody Statistical
Tables, http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/dcrp/dictabs.cfm
153
Rachel L. McLean, Jacqueline Robarge, and Susan G.
Sherman, 2006.
154

Flower, S., Britt, T., Brooks, R., Lewis, J., & Robarge, J.
2009.

155
A national study of individuals in jails across the country found that in 2002 68 percent of people in jails suffered
with dependence or abuse of alcohol or drugs. Source: Jennifer C. Karberg and Doris J. James, 2005
156

Minutes from the December 9, 2009 meeting of the Baltimore Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
157

Doug Donavon, “Drug Test,” The Baltimore Sun, August
17, 2008, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2008-0817/news/0808160081_1_methadone-heroin-addicts
158

Personal interview with Mr. Mohammed Ahmad, ACTSAP Director, January 27, 2010.
159

Personal interview with Mr. Mohammed Ahmad, ACTSAP Director, January 27, 2010.
160

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, The Effect of
Incarceration on Medicaid Benefits for People with Mental
Illnesses (Washington, D.C.: 2009) www.bazelon.org/
pdf/Medicaid_and_Incarceration5-09.pdf
161

Personal interview, Annette Geiger, Case Management,
Baltimore City Detention Center, April 14, 2010.

162

For more information, please see The Bazelon Center
for Mental Health Law, Finding the Key to successful transition from jail to the community: An Explanation of Federal
Medicaid and Disability Program Rules, www.bazelon.org/
issues/criminalization/findingthekey.html#6
163

Personal interview with Jean Lewis, Office of the Mayor,
Mayor’s Re-Entry Implementation Council, January 21,
2010.

164

Justice Policy Institute, Housing and Public Safety
(Washington, D.C.: 2007) www.justicepolicy.org/contenthmID=1811&smID=1581&ssmID=68.htm
165

Marta Nelson and others, The first month out: Postincarceration experiences in New York City (New York: Vera
Institute of Justice, 1999)

166

Nancy G. La Vigne and others, 2003, pg. 2.

JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE BALTIMORE BEHIND BARS

73

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organization dedicated to reducing society’s reliance on incarceration
and promoting fair and effective solutions to social problems.
For more information on this and other reports, please contact
LaWanda Johnson at 202-558-7974 x 308 or ljohnson@justicepolicy.org or Adam Ratliff at 202-558-7974 x 306
or aratliff@justicepolicy.org. The full report is available at
www.justicepolicy.org.

1012 14th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tel: 202-558-7974
Fax: 202-558-7978
www.justicepolicy.org

 

 

The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct Side
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Federal Prison Handbook