Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man whose death under policy custody threw the city of Baltimore into violent protests, grew up in one of the most heavily incarcerated areas of Baltimore–and the state of Maryland.
Gray’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood was rated Baltimore’s “highest” incarceration community in a 2015 Justice Policy Institute study. 458 residents are serving time in state prison, costing the state $17 million per year.
3 percent of the neighborhood is behind bars.
One out of every four young people between the ages of 10 and 17 was arrested between 2005 and 2009, according to data from the Baltimore City government.
The neighborhood is also fraught with poverty, unemployment, and high crime rates. Over 49 percent of high schoolers are “chronically absent” from school, and 60 percent of the population 25 and older does not have a high school degree.
The unemployment and poverty rates are double the city average, while a quarter of the neighborhood’s buildings lay abandoned.
“The same communities that experience incarceration most acutely also have the greatest challenges serving their residents,” the Justice Policy Institute wrote in their summary, published in February. “Rather than spend millions of dollars to incarcerate people from each of these communities, the funds could, instead, be invested in education, workforce development, treatment, and housing services.”