Now, That's What I Call Justice!
Updated: Jan 19
2023 is the dawn of a new day in our state, with people representing a wider variety of experiences, genders, and colors in leadership positions. In honor of new changes and possibilities, we asked our Issue Leads to tell you their story and their vision for Maryland. Last week, Jim Caldiero, our Immigration Issue Lead, shared his story. This week we continue our end of year series with Karen "Candy" Clark, our Criminal Justice Reform Lead.
Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore recently spoke to the Annapolis Caucus of African American leaders about Maryland’s Correctional System saying "Every prison sentence in Maryland is a Life Sentence.”
Once sentenced a person’s entire life becomes sealed in its own type of cell...
Even though rehabilitation has been proven to be the best method to help with successful re-entry, our state provides so few resources, that 48% return within 3 years, and the percentages keep rising. And, once a person is out, there are over 1,000 restrictive policies that serve as barriers to a productive life.
Many employment and educational opportunities require disclosure even after your “sentence “ has been served, with its revelation bringing rejection. Housing rentals are scarce. Transportation and health care challenges and even the loss of your right to vote while behind the walls serve to identify our incarcerated as second class citizens.
STOP! STOP! STOP!
THIS IS NOT THE CULTURE I WANT TO LIVE IN AND BE A PART OF.… This why I volunteer to work with UULM-MD where we work to bring justice to unjust laws and support new changes that are equitable for all!
For example: For years we fought to remove the governor's ability to override the Parole Boards’ decisions on when lifers with the right to parole should be approved. This decision should not be a political football but instead should be based on the research and interviews of the parole board’s investigations. Although the governor vetoed it, the legislature overrode it. Now a more just process is in effect.
Maryland has overhauled its correctional system, by researching the problems and then implementing the solutions. Maryland is the first state in the country to tackle and reform its Police Accountability laws and recently passed a historic systemic overhaul of our public school system to tackle the “Preschool to Prison Pipeline” with the heavily researched Blueprint for Maryland which begins this year. Unlike other educational bills, the Blueprint is strengthened by a strong Accountability and Implementation Board to ensure that every child in Maryland is provided with all resources possible for an equitable educational experience that leads to successful career and/or work force engagement. The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland worked diligently to help make each of these changes succeed.
NOW, THIS IS MY TYPE OF COMMUNITY!
The type I want to be identified with — justice seeking people who work to reform unjust laws and create essential innovative changes for our future.
Please join UULM-MD in this work with your membership and/or financial support.