Criminal Justice and the 2020 Session
As bills are introduced, we will provide bill numbers and links to the actual bill text.
Objectives for 2020:
The Citations bill is an outgrowth of the comprehensive correctional reform bill – Justice Reinvestment Act of 2016 which produced a 2-year study and implementation overhaul of Maryland’s Criminal Justice System. One of its goals is to reduce detention centers population of non-violent offenders charged with minor infractions. They can be referred to rehabilitation programs or probation. The Citation bill is a piece of the reform package as suggested by the Pew Research Team. This bill permits police officers to issue citations for certain offences instead of the offender being taken into the local detention centers. (a similar process used for minor traffic violations)
Restrictive Housing (Solitary Confinement)
Direct Release - Past efforts have shown little progress in prohibiting direct release of an offender from Solitary back into the community. This is a disservice not only to the community but also the offender. A transitionalprogram is necessary to help the change be safe, successful and supportive.
Mental Illness - Bill will prohibit restrictive housing for the most severe mentally ill inmates.
Lifers with Parole Possibility
Maryland is one of three states in the country that gives the Governor the final review for parole for this sentence.
The bill we support relegates this decision to the appointed parole board as done in many states, thus removing the governor from this responsibility.
Currently, people serving time in prison are allowed to earn days off their original sentences for good behavior. We are supporting an additional, new type of sentence diminution credits for successful attainment of major educational goals identified in an inmate’s approved treatment plan. When incarcerated people are offered the chance to learn new things, their sense of hope and self-esteem is greatly enhanced.
For more information, please contact Criminal Justice Reform Task Force Chair Candy Clark at CriminalJustice@uulmmd.org.