Legislation introduced SB-111 and HB-303

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate and crossed filed in the House. SB-111, Lead sponsor Nathaniel McFadden, cosponsors  GladdenKelley, and Muse; and HB 303, lead sponsor Jill Carter, cosponsors  AndersonGlennHolmesB. RobinsonRosenbergSmithSydnor, and Valentino-Smith. On page four are the names of the people on both committees. A form letter was sent some time ago to be used when writing to the committee members, it is suggested that each person can create their own letter, using the factual information in the form letter.

                Our position has always been; and continues to be, good decisions are made with good information, and this is why we’ve compiled the report ‘Still Blocking the Exit.’ It supports our position for parole reform. We also understand that there may be those who oppose releasing persons serving parole eligible life sentences, (which is different from life without parole) and they may never change their positions. We do, however, want to make sure they are aware of the fact that many people who were serving parole eligible life sentences are now free under the Unger decision living successful live back in the community. (at this writing over 80) At least seventeen of them were denied parole in 2012, and have already begun saving the state of Maryland what would have been taxpaying dollars to keep them incarcerated.

                Our plan of action is to have as many of them at the bills hearing's) as possible to demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety, and releasing those who are equally deserving can save tax payers millions of dollars now being wasted warehousing them unnecessarily for political concerns.

It’s Hump Day with your social media news update. The story you will not get from main stream media.

Most of us lives have been affected by crime(s) in one manner or another. It is one of the most difficult things to overcome, especially with the lost of a loved one. The question then becomes, how much should we punish the person(s) who committed the crime(s)?  In our advocacy for restorative justice, we have always been concerned about the victims/ survivors’ of crime(s).  Some of our strongest supporters are people whose lives have been impacted by crimes, Ms. Ginger Dukes Beal who lost her son, appeared in the documentary ‘Blocking the Exit’ (unfortunately she passed away in 2013) was one of the strongest advocates for restorative justice. Ms. Bonnitta Spikes, who lost her husband to senseless violence is an out spoken advocate to abolish the death penalty, supports, and has spoken on many restorative justice panels. The mothers of S.A.V.E., (Survivors Against Violence Everywhere), seeks restorative justice too. This is the healing process, as no one benefits from a system that does not consider whether an individual has changed, is remorseful, served their time, and are no longer a threat to public safety. This is the hall mark of our system, without forgiveness there is no healing.

Governor Hogan’s willingness to take these things into consideration is applaud-able, it will not however, address the overall issue, that parole eligible life sentences are political. No one serving a parole eligible life sentences has been paroled out right over 20 years. (1995) Governor Glendenning (Democratic) did not parole any lifers during his 8 years in office, During Governor Ehrlich’s  4 years in office (Republican)  he only commented a few, but did not parole any, and during Governor O’Malley’s (Democratic) 8 year administration he did not parole any.

With the election of Governor Hogan (Republican) who has publically stated that he would take a more aggressive approach to pardon, and commutation petitions coming before his office, creates an interesting scenario. When he leaves office, can we expect a reversal of his position? If history is any indication of what to expect, we can assume so. This is why the parole process must be depoliticized with parole reform.  

The Maryland Court of appeals decision in 2012, in Unger V. State, mandated individuals convicted under unlawful jury instructions before 1980 are entitled to new trials. The decision affects well over 200 people, and as of today close to 80 has been released; 17 of those released had been denied parole in 2012 by Governor O’Malley. They have all made successful transitions back into the community, and are not a threat to public safety.


The parole commissioners, by statute, have skills relevant to the task; they are experienced at assessing risk; and they already are making recommendations for this group of people.  There is still accountability since the Commissioner’s are appointed by the Governor, but the Governor will not bear the sole burden of decision-making.


By relieving the governor of this responsibility it would remove the appearance of politicization in decisions making.  This can be done by striking the sections requiring the governor’s signature. This is why legislators should seriously consider approving those changes. The legislation will restore faith in the system, giving those incarcerated incentive to change, and remove politics that unnecessarily waste taxpayers dollars that could be used other places, such as schools, recreation centers, and treatment programs.

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