Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Braveboy Prioritizes Restorative Justice, Outreach

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy stood outside on a chilly Saturday morning last month in Annapolis to support college students rallying for the state of Maryland to end financial and other disparities at the state’s four HBCUs.

A few weeks later, she spoke to girls in Camp Springs at an “Unapologetically Girl” workshop.

The 44-year-old former state delegate enjoys attending community events and talking with people, but now she will do that as the county’s top prosecutor.

“I know the potential of this community and I also know the talent. I can relate to people,” she said during an interview Friday, Dec. 28 inside her office in Upper Marlboro. “I represent what any child in this county can do.”

Since being officially elected Nov. 6, she’s personally met with almost everyone in the office of more than 200 prosecutors, paralegals and other staff. She created a discovery unit where individuals will help collect evidence from the Police Department and other public safety agencies.

Braveboy said the unit will allow attorneys more time to prepare for trials, with the workload reaching up to 80 cases per day in the state’s second-largest jurisdiction.

A community affairs team continues to work on outreach efforts and create a future “international justice day” for not only Spanish-speaking residents, but also those from the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. It has a personal connection for Braveboy because her father immigrated to the U.S. from Grenada.

Braveboy said her office must also support LGBTQ residents who are victims of domestic violence and transgender prostitutes who are sometimes taken advantage of by law enforcement.

“We want all people to feel comfortable coming to our office,” she said. “We have to provide justice for everybody. We are the top law enforcement office in the county. We have to do a much better job of setting the example of how justice will be administered here.”

Braveboy’s excitement rises when speaking of an initiative to turn the juvenile division into a specialty unit so prosecutors can work on long-term cases.

The initiative also aims to create a teen court program where students accused of certain offenses would have cases reviewed by their peers. The particular wrongdoings would include truancy, petty theft, vandalism and involvement in school fights that do not result in serious injuries.

School board Vice Chairman Edward Burroughs III, who works at the office, will head the teen court program.

“We are looking for grants to add more social workers and other health professionals that can assist us because we have so many young people in this county who have mental health, or behavioral health issues, or who just need some counseling,” Braveboy said. “Our goal is to end the school to prison pipeline. We believe we can do that with meaningful diversion.”

During the election, Braveboy was criticized by her opponents for her lack of trial experience as a criminal prosecutor. She still received 63 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and almost 99 percent in the general election.

Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-District 21) of College Park, who worked alongside Braveboy in the House of Delegates, initially endorsed state Sen. Victor Ramirez, who manages his own law office in Hyattsville, in the primary but backed Braveboy in the general election and now counts herself as one of the new state’s attorney’s supporters.

“She’s very committed to our county,” Peña-Melnyk said. “She has excellent work ethic and she’s a lawyer. The state experience is important because a lot of times you need to have relationships with your legislators to get laws changed and implemented. She knows how to do that. I think our county is very blessed to have her.”

Braveboy, a county native who graduated from Largo High School, stayed home to attend the University of Maryland in College Park and received a bachelor’s degree in government and politics. She later earned a law degree at the Howard University.

Beside her works as a state delegate representing the 25th District from 2007 to 2015 where she served on the Economic Matters Committee, Braveboy also volunteered and conducted pro bono work with the Community Public Awareness Council, also known as C-PAC. The nonprofit organization founded in 2004 runs mentoring, parenting workshops and other reform programs. She also worked as a government affairs manager with the Children’s National Health System.

Always seen smiling, Braveboy takes the job of state’s attorney seriously.

“This position is very humbling,” she said. “When you look at control, this office has a lot of impact. In this position, it’s not about ego. It’s about justice and that’s what you have to think about every single day. People’s lives are in your hands.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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