"I support Senator Victor Ramirez," activist Qiana Johnson writes, "because he understands that charges are often based on complex laws—and enforced by long mandatory minimum prison sentences—creating strong incentives for defendants to capitulate to lesser charges, perhaps even to crimes they did not commit."
/By Qiana Johnson/ The local prosecutor or State’s Attorney office has a lot of power in ensuring criminal justice reform. They control who will be prosecuted and how long they will be sentenced. In 2015 and 2018, two similar cases warranted two drastically different sentences under the administration of the current State’s Attorney and County Executive candidate, Angela Alsobrooks. Both cases involved falsifying documents; however, one was me, a single Black mother of two with no criminal history, and the other was a white former Prince George’s County police officer, Jennifer Simms. I received 8 ½ years (Qiana Johnson’s story) but the former cop received only 6 months (Jennifer Simm’s story). There were even distinct differences between how I was portrayed and how Jennifer Simms was portrayed.
My story and other untold stories are the reasons that we need a fair prosecutor in Prince George’s County. I support Senator Victor Ramirez because he understands that charges are often based on complex laws—and enforced by long mandatory minimum prison sentences—creating strong incentives for defendants to capitulate to lesser charges, perhaps even to crimes they did not commit. Victor Ramirez wants to give residents second chances through diversionary programs and provide better re-entry services for formerly incarcerated people. I trust Victor Ramirez because he is endorsed by unions and grassroots organizations while Aisha Braveboy, another candidate for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, has been proud of her endorsement by the police unions including the Fraternal Order of Police. Senator Ramirez is a very progressive candidate with a detailed plan to reform this broken criminal justice system in Prince George’s County.
Qiana Johnson is Formerly Incarcerated Organizing Fellow for Progressive Prince George’s, the county affiliate of Progressive Maryland.