ECSM’s advocacy work reflects that of the Diocese of Maryland and the Episcopal commitment to social justice and public policy issues before the Maryland General Assembly. Participating actively in this network will enable us to respond to our baptismal covenant to strive for justice and peace for all people.
ECSM’s advocacy work focuses on the issues that are most important to our program participants:
Recreate Don't Incarcerate!
January 2007 - In 2007, the State of Maryland was charged by the US Department of Justice with a violation for holding Baltimore city youth-charged-as-adults in Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC) alongside the adult population.
2010 - In response, the state approved a plan for the new facility – a 220-bed jail at a capital cost of $104 million and annual operating cost of $13 million.
June 2010 - Citizens and organizations asked the Governor to postpone construction in favor of conducting research for a better remedy to house the 50 youth inmates at BCDC without building a new, costly, 220-bed facility.
May 2011 - The Governor’s staff hired the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) to conduct research. NCCD recommended administrative changes and effective programming to reduce the number of youth held in detention centers, and the report concluded that the state did not need a new facility if these recommendations were followed.
November 2011-February 2012 , Proposed Reuse of Jail Funds for Alternatives to Incarceration - Using the recommendations presented in the NCCD report, community leaders proposed a re-use of jail funds to provide alternatives to detention. These recommendations predicted that 100-150 detention spaces would be freed-up – many more than would be needed to move the 50 youth-charged-as-adults out of BCDC. (See below for PACT Centers and Apprenticeships).
November 2011-February 2012 , Proposed Reuse of Jail Funds for Expanding Developmental Activities for Youth – Additional recommendations from the NCCD were used to support community leaders’ proposal to include funding to expand recreational, educational, and job opportunities for youth so that fewer young people find themselves in circumstances that lead to trouble, arrest, and detention. (See recommendations below for rec centers, school constructions, and jobs.)
April 2012 – Governor O’Malley still moves ahead with plans to build a jail, and asks the state legislature to modify their approval for the 220-bed jail for a smaller 120-bed jail for Baltimore City youth-charged-as-adults.
ALTERNATIVE RECOMMENDATION TO REUSE JAIL MONEY: The state has already spent $24 million on plans for the new jail. $80 million remains from the original capital budget.
NOTE: GOOD JOBS FOR ALL: All new jobs created by the investment are to be filled by Baltimore City residents and, where possible, as members of unions that ensure a livable wage and benefits.
Redirect Capital Funds: Use the $80 million dedicated for the jail in the following alternatives:
Redirect Annual Operating Funds: Use the $13 million dedicated for the jail as follows:
Contact Governor O’Malley to reuse the jail money for the positive solutions
For more information, please contact Lindsay Smith at ECSM: email@example.com or 410-467-1264, x504.
Measuring the Impact of Homelessness on Preschool-Age Children
By the age of 3, children whose parents were professionals had vocabularies of about 1100 words. Children whose parents were on welfare had vocabularies of 525 words. "If poor children are going to catch up, they will require not the same education...but one that is considerably better; they need more time in class... better trained teachers and a curriculum that prepares them... intellectually for the challenges ahead of them." (Tough, Paul. "What it Takes to Make a Student." New York Times, 26 Nov. 2006.).
"Poor and non-poor children who fail to achieve their full academic potential are more likely to enter adulthood without the skills necessary to develop into highly productive members of society able to compete effectively in a global labor market. Less skilled, less productive, and earning less, when these children become adults they will be less able to contribute to the growth and development of the U.S. economy." (Lynch, Robert G. "Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation: Public Investment in High-Quality Prekindergarten." EPI, May 2007. 8.)
The Value of After-School Programs
Preparing Baltimore’s ex-offenders for the demands of a knowledge- and skill-based economy is a challenging task. Each year, nearly 9,000 ex-offenders return to Baltimore City facing many concurrent problems: addictions, lack of housing, low-educational attainment and limited family support. One of the most difficult barriers to successful re-entry is sustainable employment.
Employment support services are crucial to formerly incarcerated persons. Job creation among the formerly incarcerated population is particularly challenging. Prior to prison, many men do not complete high school or hold sustainable jobs. While in prison, the use of technology flourished and imprisoned men were left behind to become part of the technological divide. After release, many men are not prepared to write a resume on a computer or respond to an on-line job listing. The Jericho Program seeks to provide rapid attachment to work services to formerly incarcerated men. There is a correlation between employment and staying out of prison. Studies have found that the combination of legitimate employment, positive social networks and daily routines are significant factors that boost employment and reduce recidivism. (Bloom, Dan. "Employment-Focused Programs for Ex-Offenders." MDRC. July 2006.)