The second group of policy prescriptions center on "Criminal and Juvenile Justice." Much of the discussion centered on the stigma associated with having a criminal record.
"I made some bad decisions and ended up being charged with multiple violent felonies," Nicole Hanson, board president of the non-profit Out for Justice, which advocates on behalf of former inmates, said. Hanson had been a nurse's aide, and was in nursing school, when she made these decisions, she said. She ended up in prison for a year. "My husband had to take two jobs," Hanson said. "I had to enlist family and friends to help care for my children."
And when she got out she could no longer work in her field. She said police harassed her and assaulted her, saying "we have our eyes on you."
"Everything in my life was taken from me," Hanson said. She decried the easy public availability of court records, saying it leads to discrimination.
At the table in the back, Umphery was again skeptical: "I think the issue still is, what is the power of the city to make these changes?"
The woman sitting next to her, a former police officer who now runs a youth-oriented non-profit, said that the first order of business must be bringing the Baltimore Police Department under direct city control.
"As long as it remains an instrumentality of the state," she said, "none of this is going to happen."
The voting flashed onscreen with items 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 10 leading—8 and 1 neck and neck.
Number 1 is a simple call for "increased transparency of the Baltimore City Police Department." It's an oft-promised, seldom-realized dream.
Number 3 directs the mayor to work with the city's legislative delegation in an effort to bring the police department under city control. The fourth item asks for a "Baltimore City executive commission to review pretrial agencies and practices" and release an advisory opinion.
Number 7: "Remove legal and systemic barriers to employment for returning citizens and other individuals with criminal records."
Item 8 calls for school discipline reform, improved conduct by school police, amending the Baltimore City student handbook and reallocating funds from punitive school discipline to restorative justice.
Number 10 calls for increased access to social workers for students and their families.
The group was dwindling in the afternoon as it voted on the suggestions for job creation. A panel spoke of various issues ranging from wage theft from day laborers to creating viable career ladders for ex-offenders to whether the city is hospitable to the "innovation economy." The votes went to agenda items 3-7, calling for the mayor to use local government hiring and contracting to favor local and minority workers and companies; develop worker-owned cooperatives and other alternative business models, expand GED and ESL services to address "Baltimore's severe basic skills gap"; connect youth, young adults, and former prison inmates to apprenticeships and internships; and provide case management, coaching, and supportive services to job-seekers, including criminal records expungement, child support arrearages, immigration status, transportation, housing, child care assistance, mental health and substance-abuse assistance, and "other barriers."
The final vote was a yes-or-no concerning the creation of an "Office of Racial Equity" in the mayor's office.
"It really is the glue that holds all of the other three together," Diane Bell McCoy, President and CEO of the Associated Black Charities, told the remaining delegates. If created, the office would review all city policies and ordinances through "a racial equity lens," she said. "Asking these questions is intended to disrupt. Disrupt the unintended consequences that lead to structural racism."
The measure passed overwhelmingly.
The plan will be presented to Mayor Pugh for a response. The OSI plans to report on the plan and its progress in the coming months. It posted the "Solutions Summit Action Plan here.
[Correction: An earlier version of this blog erroneously credited the Annie E. Casey Foundation with assisting the Summit, and that the previous Summits were both held in New York City, rather than New York and D.C. City paper regrets the errors.]