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Salisbury and Cambridge Incarceration Rates More Than Double Statewide Average, Study Shows

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cambridge and Salisbury have incarceration rates more than double the Maryland state average, according to a new report by the Justice Policy Institute and the Prison Policy Initiative.

A first-of-its-kind study, The Right Investment shows that 925 per 100,000 people from Cambridge and 870 per 100,000 people from Salisbury are in a state prison. Statewide, only 383 out of every 100,000 Marylanders are incarcerated.

According to the report, 114 of the inmates currently at a Maryland state prison are from Cambridge, while 264 are from Salisbury.

The study also includes findings from outside Delmarva communities. The institutes found that Hagerstown has the second highest incarceration rate in the state (1,034 per 100,000 people) after Baltimore City (1,255 per 100,000 people). Four hundred and ten people in a Maryland state prison are from Hagerstown, the report shows.

Annapolis is another city with an incarceration rate higher than that of the state, with 394 out of 100,000 people in prison.

Maryland taxpayers spend $288 million every year on Baltimore incarcerations, the study found, a cost that the Justice Policy Institute's executive director says is too much.

“This costly investment in incarceration can decrease public safety, and undermine the ability to redirect funds to better long-term solutions that could prevent crime from happening,” Executive Director Mark Schindler said.

The data used in the study is the result of Maryland's No Representation Without Population Act of 2010, the first law of its kind in the nation. Under the legislation, people in Maryland prisons are now counted for the purposes of the U.S. Census as being part of the town or city they are from, not the town or city where they are incarcerated.

Executive Director Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative says this change in the law will ultimately “allow policymakers to make informed choices about how best to allocate precious taxpayer resources.”

This report comes as the Maryland General Assembly deliberates a range of policy proposals that could impact how much funding goes toward the state's correctional facilities.

This piece originally appeared on WBOC 16.

Follow Emily Stern on Twitter at @emilyannstern and WBOC 16 at @WBOC.

Posted in JPI in the News, Criminal Justice News

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