Public Safety and Criminal Justice

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Violent crime is on the rise across Maryland and people are dying in our streets. Making matters worse, our state has experienced a failure of executive leadership over the past eight years that has left localities to fend for themselves and our communities less safe. From 2015 to 2020, Maryland saw increases in the rates and numbers of murder and rapes. In 2020 there were 573 reported homicides in jurisdictions across Maryland and more than 80 percent of those homicides were the result of a shooting. Maryland has the 7th highest firearm homicide rate in the country and tragically we lost 59 young people to firearm violence in 2019. Our ability to keep Marylanders safe is dependent upon having a governor who will be fully engaged and ensure crime is addressed with urgency in our communities.

Wes has dedicated his career to fighting poverty and creating opportunities for the communities he serves. As an Army Captain and combat veteran, Wes was charged with serving and protecting communities around the globe. As CEO of one of the nation’s largest nonprofits fighting poverty, Wes’ organization funded national research on the long-term implications of crime, incarceration and criminal convictions, and that work led to the passage of transformative legislation and policy. Wes has also worked to rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement through collaborative work with communities and law enforcement agencies. During his time as CEO, Wes also raised and oversaw the distribution of $650 million to increase access to job training, improve worker conditions and more.

There is no greater priority or responsibility for the chief executive than ensuring the public’s safety, and rising crime is a statewide problem requiring statewide leadership. As governor, Wes will:

  • Swiftly and aggressively combat gun violence by building strong partnerships across state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, banning ghost guns and investing in proven community-based violence intervention programs. 
  • Reform Maryland’s probation and parole system by filling every vacant position, ensuring strong supervision of high-risk individuals, and leveraging local offices to connect people to behavioral health treatment, housing and employment. 
  • Increase resources for state law enforcement agencies so they are able to assist local agencies in preventing, interdicting and solving crime in our communities.
  • Invest in proven community-based violence intervention programs and build strong partnerships with communities and law enforcement to identify individuals at-risk of violence, connect them to essential resources and interrupt lethal cycles of violence.
  • Dramatically reduce Maryland’s recidivism rate by increasing investments in re-entry programming, expanding educational and job-training programs during incarceration and ensuring people have access to behavioral health treatment.
  • Rebuild and strengthen relationships between communities and law enforcement agencies by increasing accountability and transparency, funding community-policing initiatives and recruiting diverse officers that reflect the diversity of communities they serve.