The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and Listening is Key, LLC/Everfourward, LLC has developed a program to intervene with emerging adults. We are identifying young men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 to provide them with an opportunity to change their lives after becoming involved in the criminal justice system.
Individuals in this age group make up a substantial number of the felony cases prosecuted by the office. Many of these individuals are charged with violent crimes and/or felony handgun possession. They are facing lengthy or mandatory periods of incarceration. However, we know that they will be returning to our community without receiving the benefit of any services to assist them with life after incarceration.
State’s Attorney Braveboy recognizes that these young people have not fully developed emotionally and mentally. Young people in general tend to make mistakes and at times they need an opportunity to recover from those mistakes and deserve a second chance.
These young men and women will be held accountable for the crimes they have committed. The Emerging Adults Program will intervene with these individuals while they are incarcerated to provide them with the services they need to address the root of their involvement in the criminal justice system. They will be provided with skills to cope with life after incarceration. The program will partner with employment providers such as Employ Prince George’s, The Builder’s Trade Union, and the Painter’s Union who will assist our emerging adults with job placement information and resources after returning to the community.
Our goal is for these Emerging Adults to return to the community less likely to reoffend, and as productive gainfully employed members of our County. Giving these young people a second chance will help Prince George’s County be safer and help young people get back on the path towards success.
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the State’s Attorney’s office has stressed the importance of moving swiftly and responsibly to reduce the jail population.
On March 1, 2020, we activated Operation Safe Release, where we have been actively working with the Office of the Public Defender, the Judiciary, and the Department of Corrections. Our efforts are ongoing, which is critical to ensuring that the detention center has the designated space to appropriately care for those who must remain in custody as a matter of public safety.
The Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County launched ”Operation Protect the Right to Vote for All” to ensure the voting rights for pre-trial detainees and inmates. There are an estimated 7,000 people in the state of Maryland being held pretrial who have the right to vote, according to a recent article on National Public Radio’s website. This initiative is designed to ensure that pre-trial detainees and inmates currently held at the detention facility can vote.
We held voter registration drives for inmates to receive absentee ballot applications and applications to register to vote. The goal was to engage all of the inmates held in the facility with the understanding that every single vote is critical, every vote counts and we want to ensure that we protect their rights. Our “Protect the Vote” outreach also includes other vulnerable populations that are often overlooked like immigrants, seniors, and individuals in the LGBTQ community. We have held a number of voter drives aimed at those populations as well.
In October 2017, State’s Attorney Braveboy launched the Not One Campaign, an initiative aimed to raise awareness around the realities of domestic violence and empower victims to leave dangerous situations. Domestic violence takes many forms, some subtle and others vividly violent. The goal of the campaign is to educate everyone to understand, that no form of domestic violence is ever acceptable. The Not One Campaign holds events that feature live testimonies from domestic violence survivors, advocates and lawmakers. Each year, this campaign brings people together to talk about this important issue.
We plan to use the new Maryland “lethal violence protective order” law as much as possible to keep guns out of the hands of those in crisis that are likely to use a weapon in a domestic violence incident. Lethal violence protective orders enable families and law enforcement to ask the courts for an order to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns, if they are found to be a risk to themselves or other people.
While domestic abuse is a wide spread issue across the nation, it often still flies under the radar because of the stigma and shame associated with it. Jurisdictions across America have refused to address the need for substantive services because they refuse to acknowledge there is even a problem. Too often, we hear about a tragedy, and say we had no idea this was happening. The fact is that in Prince George’s County, we are addressing the issue. Clearly, more needs to be done. More opportunities are needed for temporary sheltering. More support networks are needed to ensure that victims have people to help them understand they are not alone. More education is needed at early ages to provide character development and respect for the opposite sex and each other.
In Prince George’s County, we understand that domestic violence is both society’s problem and a community issue, not just the problem of the victim. There are people suffering from domestic violence who are silenced and don’t want to talk about it. That is why we have created an environment in which victims can feel more comfortable coming forward. We don’t want you to hide and suffer any more. We want every resident to feel safe and secure. Every resident should feel supported. And when there is pain, we will work to provide the safety net and the network to support you. As long as there are people giving a voice and comfort to victims of domestic violence, people will feel more empowered, more capable, and definitely more able to stand again. They will stand on the shoulders of others, and sometimes need to lean for support, but someday they will stand straight-up, proud, productive, and unafraid of any obstacle before them.
Our Streets, Our Future initiative is a countywide strategy aimed to reduce gun violence within Prince George’s County. This initiative was designed and launched as a key community engagement effort to addressing gun violence as a collaborative problem-solving approach to the prevention, intervention, and prosecution model. The Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County, in partnership with community partners, stakeholders, advocates, other public safety agencies, elected officials, and business leaders have invited county residents to be a part of the Our Streets, Our Future initiative to develop and implement a comprehensive and community strategy which includes the use of violence interrupters and intervenors to reduce the occurrences of gun violence and related incidents in and around Prince George’s County. It will consist of several community engagement events, community walks, knock and talk activities, and neighborhood watch programs throughout the various communities within the county. While the goal is to reduce gun violence and related incidents, we also know that another key component to the overall strategy for this initiative is to provide individuals with the resources and services that they need, including mentorship opportunities.