By Our Maryland Our Voices Contributor
For years, Marylanders have been asking for proper and strategic criminal justice reform. However, in order to create this type of reform, Marylanders will need to elect a governor who is not new to the complicated criminal justice system and who has years of experience fighting for civil rights. Luckily, Marylanders will soon have the chance to elect a governor with that experience and then some.
While he is not campaigning to be the next governor of Maryland, Ben Jealous currently leads criminal justice education as a teacher of criminal justice policy at the renowned Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. It is there that Jealous has inspired and taught some of the countries future criminal justice leaders.
In addition, Jealous has a personal connection to the criminal justice system. As stated on his website, Jealous’ own grandfather worked for 30 years as a juvenile probation officer. It is this connection that Jealous says inspired him to study criminal justice as a student.
Through his experience and education, Jealous has found Maryland’s criminal justice system to be unfit for a state with so much potentiation. Not only does Jealous find many aspects of the system a waste of taxpayers’ money, but also Jealous has analyzed and determined that the current system makes Marylanders less safe. Now, Jealous is determined to lead Maryland’s criminal justice system in a way that strategically uses taxpayer dollars to ensure safety and justice for all residents and visitors within the state.
As listed on his website, Justice has many planned strategies to develop a better system. One strategy that highlights Jealous’ efforts to make Maryland a leader on national issues is his strategy regarding safe gun ownership. As governor, Jealous will create Gun Courts. These courts will showcase high-risk offenders, thus ensuring gun ownership and possession is in the right hands.
Additionally, Jealous plans to reduce Maryland’s prison rate by at least 30 percent. This partially goes off of Jealous’ plan to legalize marijuana and will result in Marylanders saving up to $660 million in taxpayer dollars. This money, currently used to house many nonviolent and young offenders, can thus go elsewhere to improve the state.
While creating justice within the state’s prison, Jealous acknowledges that women’s health is important. As governor, he wants to protect and empower incarcerated women. Jealous will do this by ensuring that incarcerated women have access to needed reproductive health services.
Through his education, experiences, and realistic and humane strategies, Jealous has shown to be a proven and driven leader for Maryland’s criminal justice system. The positive outcome from his strategies will not only benefit those incarcerated but all Marylanders, as it will create a safer state with better-used tax dollars. To learn more about all of Jealous’ plans for Maryland’s criminal justice system, visit his website at https://benjealous.com/issues/
The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of Our Maryland or Our Maryland Education Fund.