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Baltimore's preventable killings: A policy critique from Sean Kennedy

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Baltimore's homicide rate has remained above 300 per year for the past seven years, despite concerted crime reduction efforts. A new study blames lenient sentencing practices by the city prosecutor's office. (WYPR photo)

Today, conversations about reducing violent crime in Baltimore. A little later in the broadcast, Tom speaks with the city’s new Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Anthony Barksdale, who oversees the police and fire departments, the Office of Emergency Management, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.

But Tom's first guest is Sean Kennedy. He’s a visiting fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, a conservative think tank. He’s written a new report called Baltimore’s Preventable Murders: The Role of Prior Convictions and Sentencing in Future Homicides. which calculates that a number of murders that have taken place in Baltimore in recent years would not have occurred if the perpetrators of those crimes had been incarcerated according to statutory guidelines.

Many of those perpetrators received lesser sentences because of plea bargains, which according to the Vera Institute, “make up the vast majority of criminal justice transactions today.” The Brennan Center reports that we already imprison 2 million people and that “83% of the world’s population of life-without-parole prisoners is living behind American bars.” Would extending sentences for violent criminals make us safer?

Sean Kennedy joins Tom in Studio A…

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Sean David Kennedy is a visiting fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute. He is the author of a new study suggesting that many of Baltimore's homicides could have been prevented with stricter criminal sentencing practices. (courtesy photo)

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.