Criminal Justice

Our current criminal justice system is wasteful, inefficient, and makes us less safe. We must implement smart-on-crime policies that ensure safety and prosperity while creating a just system for all.

Read my Criminal Justice Platform, a comprehensive plan to make our state safer, help end the era of mass incarceration, legalize marijuana, and save hundreds of millions in taxpayer money by reducing Maryland’s prison population.


As a civil rights leader and community organizer, I’ve spent my life fighting for a common sense criminal justice system that is fair and efficiently uses taxpayer dollars to improve public safety.

I was inspired to study criminal justice by my grandfather who spent thirty years as a juvenile probation officer. Now I teach criminal justice policy at one of the world’s leading public policy schools – the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. I’ve spent my life studying these issues and fighting for solutions nationwide. As governor, I’ll end mass incarceration in our state and I’ll do it with the experience I’ve gained working with both Republicans and Democrats, from Georgia to California establishing common sense reforms.

Highlights of my plan include:

  • Creating Gun Courts which will identify strong cases so that high-risk repeat offenders are dealt with quickly. Gun court judges will preside over gun possession cases from start to finish. This specialized approach helps increase conviction rates by improving case management and the subject matter competence of involved personnel.
  • Expanding proven violence reducing programs like the Capital Area Violence Intervention Program (CAP-VIP), Safe Streets, and Roca, both of which receive inadequate funding to keep Maryland families safe.
  • Expanding the Justice Reinvestment Act to reduce our prison population by 30%, creating savings of up to $660 million.
  • Ending cash bail in Maryland to make sure those staying in jail awaiting trial do so because they are a public safety threat not because they are too poor to pay bail.
  • Creating a State Office of Innocence Protection to make sure that no miscarriages of justice happen in Maryland wherein innocent people are incarcerated for crimes they did not commit.
  • Protecting the dignity of women during incarceration by ensuring women have full access to adequate and humane reproductive health services.
  • Legalizing marijuana for adult use and working to strengthen diversity requirements for licenses in the marijuana industry. Direct revenue from taxation of marijuana could raise upwards of $120 million annually.
  • Reforming testing and handling of rape kits of which there are currently 3,700 untested in our state. I will prioritize funds to clear Maryland’s backlog and ensure future kits are submitted and tested immediately.