Marilyn Mosby, State Attorney for Baltimore, announced this week that she will be launching Aim to B’More, a program geared toward reforming Baltimore’s criminal justice system. According to Mosby, Aim to B’More will hopefully reduce Baltimore’s recidivism and unemployment rates among youth offenders, specifically non-violent first-time drug offenders.

Aim to B’More will provide eligible participants with a three-year probationary period. Once completed, they will have their felony records expunged of previous charges.

While participating in the program, citizens will complete community service education, drug screening requirements and job and readiness training through the Strive Baltimore Program.

This type of legislation is much needed in Baltimore, as well as in the rest of America. According to the NAACP, “Five times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.”

One study that observed the impact of a criminal record on both Blacks and Whites found that upon applying for a job,  17 percent of Whites with a criminal record received a callback from employers. However, only 5 percent of blacks with a criminal record received a callback. In fact, a mere 14 percent of blacks without a criminal record were called back.

Studies such as these show the apparent, shocking discrimination between whites and blacks with or without a criminal record. Now just think of black citizens with non-violent first-time drug offenses. Unemployment rates in this group are incredibly high, and without employment and education many of these young offenders end up committing additional offenses and are funneled back into the system. Programs such as Aim To B’More will help black youth and lift them up in their community instead of allowing them to fall through the cracks.

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