November 1, 2023

Maryland’s Attorney General and Public Defender Form Collaborative

BSU’s Institute for Restorative Justice and Practices Will Provide Expert Research

Maryland’s Attorney General and Public Defender Form Collaborative


MEDIA CONTACT: David Thompson,, 301-860-4311

(BOWIE, Md.) – Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown and Natasha Dartigue, the state’s Public Defender, announced the formation of the Maryland Equitable Justice Collaborative (MEJC), a new initiative designed to reduce the number of Black men, women and other marginalized groups who are incarcerated in Maryland prisons. Maryland leads the nation in the number of Blacks who are in state correctional institutions.

Bowie State’s Institute for Restorative Justice and Practices brings to the collaborative its work to transcend traditional approaches to crime and punishment and school-based discipline.

“Blacks comprise 30 percent of Maryland’s population while the state’s prison population is 71 percent Black,” said Brown. “The over incarceration of Black men and women in Maryland is a crisis. It is a sad reality that the vast majority of people who have been removed from communities across the country and put behind bars are black.”

In addition to BSU’s Institute for Restorative Justice and Practices, the MEJC partnership includes the Maryland Office of the Attorney General; the Maryland Office of the Public Defender; and the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics at the University of Maryland College Park.

The collaborative will bring together experts from the criminal justice system, academia, government and the community to identify causes of the crisis and develop a strategy for reform.

“This initiative is an opportunity to help change the lives of individuals, families and communities,” said Dr. Aminta Breaux, president of Bowie State University. “By collaborating and working with the Attorney General, Public Defender and the other partners on this project, we can provide more hope for people. Maryland can make a difference and reverse the decades long pattern of black and brown people dominating our prison population.”

More specifically, Black men make up 14 percent of Maryland’s general population but 73 percent of the state’s male prison population, while Black women make up 16 percent of the state’s population but a disproportionate 53 percent of the female prison population.

“MEJC will bring renewed focus on the development and implementation of meaningful reform in the criminal legal system, in addition to amplifying the voices of marginalized communities in more expansive ways,” said Public Defender Dartigue. “I am thankful for the expertise of our diverse group of community stakeholders and their willingness to participate in this endeavor.”

More people per capita are incarcerated in the United States than any other nation in the world.


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