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This study—a partnership between the Baltimore Action Legal Team (BALT), Baltimore Court Watchers (BCW), the Community Justice Exchange (CJE), and Dr. Schlesinger—will gather data using community and student court watchers to assess the effect of pretrial requirements that many jurisdictions have enacted as they work end or limit cash bail. While pretrial requirements may provide some services, like mental health treatment, they also serve as surveillance and set requirements that are difficult for many defendants to meet. The study therefore seeks to answer the following questions: 1) Has the percent of defendants given pretrial requirements in Baltimore changed from 2017 to the present? 2) If so, are these shifts associated with changes in pretrial policy? 3) Are defendants’ race, ethnicity, gender, age, most serious charge, or prior criminal legal history associated with whether and what kinds of pretrial requirements they receive? 4) If so, in what ways? Having answers to these questions will help community organizations form evidence-based policy positions and effectively lobby for these policy or legal changes.
This study attempts to solve an environmental justice paradox: How can we improve equity in greenspace access without displacing the very residents the increased greenspace is intended to benefit? This tension is currently playing out in Pilsen, where 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez is looking to combat the prospect of green gentrification without sacrificing the benefits of potential new greenspace. The “just green enough” approach posits that it is possible to accomplish real environmental improvements without gentrification when communities are substantively engaged. To this end, the team will conduct a spatial analysis of greenspace in Chicago, calculating a vegetation index from satellite imagery to quantify both formal and informal greenspace, expanding upon previous effort that have largely considered only formal greenspace (i.e., parks). Next, they will support the Pilsen community in conducting a series of community visioning workshops to provide qualitative information on what type of greenspace residents would like to see and where. Finally, the team will synthesize the findings in a report for the community members (in English and Spanish) and an academic article. The Pilsen case will serve as a collaborative and interdisciplinary pilot project that can be replicated citywide, and beyond.