justice from the frontlines: June 18, 2023

“healthcare on the spot”

Baltimore’s “Healthcare on the Spot” has successfully stemmed overdose deaths. The city’s harm reduction approach is supported and funded by the Biden administration. In comparison to past approaches, it offers life-saving services to opioid users without demanding abstinence. Proponents want to keep opioid users alive, but opponents say that the approach encourages illegal activity. Baltimore’s deputy mayor, Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, defended the approach: “We should be thinking about harm reduction on a spectrum. Some people want to stop using, others want to use safer. It’s about reducing the stigma. Because this is a disease, not a moral failing.” AP News (June 11, 2023)

pregnant woman killed

In a D.C. shooting, a 22-year-old pregnant woman, Samya Gill, was killed while in a vehicle with a man. The man in the vehicle was shot, but his injuries were not life-threatening. Her baby is reported to be in critical condition. Police officers went to the shooting after the department’s ShotSpotter identified sounds of gunfire. The department said that the shooting was captured on camera and showed two men in a white four-door sedan. Both men got out of their vehicle with assault rifles and fired shots at the vehicle. Assistant Chief Andre Wright called this a brazen act and asked the public for assistance in identifying the two shooters. WUSA9 (June 16, 2023)

DSJ secretary on youth gun violence

Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Vincent Schiraldi spoke out against the youth gun violence problem in Baltimore city and county. Youth gun violence is a pressing issue in the city. Schiraldi urged the community to get more involved, suggesting that community members offer mental health services to at-risk youth. WBAL (June 10, 2023)

Biden vetoes republican resolution

The House of Representative failed to override Biden’s veto of a Republican-sponsored resolution which would have blocked a police discipline and accountability bill. The vote fell short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential override. The bill lays out restrictions for police officers in response to George Floyd’s killing. It orders all body camera footage to be public within five days, restricts the use of tear gas and chemical sprays during protests, and strengthens the jurisdiction of the Office of Police Complaints. Republicans and the police unions argue that it hamstrings police and will make it more challenging for departments to retain officers. DCist (June 14, 2023)

officers arrested for smuggling scheme 

Two Maryland Department of Corrections officers, Julie Chatterton and Monica Shields, were arrested for a smuggling scheme at Roxbury Correctional Institute. Chatterton and Shields used drones to deliver meth to the Institute. The State Secretary for the Department of Corrections Carolyn Scruggs reassured the public, “Our diligent staff recognized what was going on and were able to get enough information to our intelligence and investigative team.” DC News Now (June 13, 2023)

police shooting of Donnell Rochester

In February 2022, Donnell Rochester was shot by Officer Murray. Maryland’s Attorney General Office declared that there was probable cause to charge Murray with second-degree murder. Despite this, Attorney Ivan Bates said that he would not bring any charges against the officers. This is the first of a two-part investigation of the police shooting of Donnell Rochester. The community was outraged by the shooting of Rochester who had just turned 18 and was just beginning to chase his dreams. Baltimore Beat (June 13, 2023)

marijuana use while possessing firearm

The mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in Virginia plead guilty in federal court Monday to using a marijuana while possessing a firearm. This is illegal under U.S. law., but this is facing greater scrutiny as more states are legalizing marijuana. The mother has taken the first steps in a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors that call for a two-year prison sentence. The federal case against her is separate from the charges she faces on the state level. NBC News (June 12, 2023)

From the Des

in other news

New York states tried to limit writings and artistic works from prisoners, showcasing a growing issue of incarcerated rights across the country. The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported that it never sought to prohibit free speech or creative endeavors. The Marshall Project (June 10, 2023).

Climate change has worsened conditions for incarcerated Black people. Formerly incarcerated people say heat has always been an issue, but it is becoming unbearable. AFRO News (June 13, 2023)

A study uncovered that more people die of overdose after police seize drugs. It provides the first empirical evidence that cops seizing illicit opioids can result in an increase in overdoses. VICE News (June 15, 2023)

community board

  • Watch: Metro Atlanta nonprofit works to end generational incarceration
  • Attend: Juneteenth celebrations in the DMV
  • Attend: Law lecture on the costs and benefits of taxing incarcerated workers
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Zoe Kim attends Villanova University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minors in Economics and Philosophy. Passionate in criminal justice, Zoe was drawn to The Des and independent journalism serving as a call to action. The Dez gives Zoe the opportunity to pursue her interest in media and criminal justice. As an intern, she is enthusiastic to see first-hand how journalism can spark change socially.