Maryland Prison Populations Drop, Report Says
Being accused of a crime is a truly life-changing event. Many movies, TV shows, and even comedy routines make light of incarceration, but to those who’ve faced it, the horror is real. Nothing compares to the fear and anxiety one feels, knowing that they may have to “go away” from their children for possibly many years. This is why our nation owes it to its citizens to reform criminal justice and take a good hard look at how and why we incarcerate people.
As a bit of good news, recent reports seem to indicate prison numbers are dropping in Maryland.
Maryland Prison Numbers Over Time
According to long-term figures from Maryland’s Department of Corrections, between 1987 and 2013, prison populations in the state went up and down. In 1987, there were a total of 12,767 people incarcerated, based on average census headcounts at that time. Numbers reached their peak in 2002, with 24,031 people incarcerated in the state. Since then, numbers have slowly declined to 21,504 in 2013.
Most Recent Drops
According to the Baltimore Sun, between October of 2017 and June 2018, the prison population in Maryland dropped about 1.3 percent, falling to just 18,998. This marks significant progress for some, but others have their concerns. Prison reform advocates suggest that for these changes to make an appreciable difference in altering Maryland’s crime rate, the funds saved by not incarcerating individuals should be reinvested in programs, such as:
- Community programs for at-risk youths
- Drug and alcohol treatment programs
- Diversion courts
- Other avenues for early intervention
Most Common Crimes Creating High Incarceration Rates
Nationally, drugpolicy.org estimates that of the more than 2.1 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons in 2016, an incredible 1,249,025 were arrested for possession of drugs. This is roughly 84 percent of the prison population in America – for simple drug possession. Even more troubling, given the expansion of marijuana legalization throughout the country, in 2016, 653,249 people were incarcerated nationwide for marijuana violations, of which 89 percent of these charges were again for mere possession (574,641), not dealing or trafficking.
Fighting Back Against Criminal Possession Charges
If you are facing a criminal charge for possession of marijuana or any other drug, you truly need legal representation. Do not join the statistics of the millions of Americans who’ve been convicted and incarcerated for simply having a small amount of marijuana or some other illegal substance. While an attorney can never promise you’ll beat the charges, your options are vastly improved when you work with an attorney who has experience and knowledge of the local court system.
If it’s your first offense, you may be able to avoid incarceration by going through a local drug treatment diversion program in Anne Arundel, Howard, or Baltimore County.
For help with your drug charges in Maryland, call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. We want to help you avoid unfair and abusive prosecution for minor offenses. Do not talk to the police or prosecutors without at least contacting an attorney to discuss your options.