Taking Politics Out of Parole

Taking Politics Out of Parole

This is the ling to the broadcast: http://wypr.org/post/taking-politics-out-parole



Maryland is one of the only states in the county that permits a governor to reject or veto a parole commission’s recommendations.  We take another look at parole reform in this hour with Tessa Hill-Aston, president of Baltimore’s NAACP, and Walter Lomax, of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative (MRJI), who served 39 years in prison for a wrongful conviction. Here is a link to the report, "Still Blocking the Exit," written by the ACLU of Maryland and the MRJI.

Plus, how much is Maryland spending to incarcerate people from Baltimore City?Marc Schindler, from the Justice Policy Institute, shares new findings on how much is spent on incarcerating Baltimore residents. 


HB-303 has been rescheduled for Friday, February 20th, the day after SB-111 which is being heard on the 19th

RESCHEDULED: Media Advisory rescheduled for February 19, 2015
News conference at 11 a.m. on HB 303, Inmates – Life Imprisonment – Parole Reform, in Lawyers Mall on Feb. 19
Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland, 443-310-9946, [email protected]
Walter Lomax, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, 443-413-6076, [email protected]
ANNAPOLIS — Advocates will join with state lawmakers on Thursday, Feb. 19 for a rally and press conference between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. in an effort to pass bills in this legislative session that would depoliticize the process governing what happens to those individuals given parole-eligible sentences and who are recommended for release. They will be joined by individuals released under the decision in Unger v. State of Maryland, which held that flawed jury instructions given by judges prior to 1980 denied defendants the right to a fair trial.
A new report, "Still Blocking the Exit," released in January, tells the stories of many individuals given parole-eligible life sentences who have been denied release despite being recommended for it.
Senators Nathaniel McFaddenLisa Gladden, and Anthony Muse, as well as Delegates Jill Carter and Curt Anderson are scheduled to participate in the rally and news conference. They will be joined by advocates Walter Lomax of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, Toni Holness of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, and Keith Wallington of the Justice Policy Institute.
WHAT: News conference at which state lawmakers, state organization leaders, and individuals who have been released from incarceration following the decision in Unger v. State of Maryland will talk about why the parole process for those serving parole-eligible life sentences must be depoliticized. 
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 19; rally between 10:30 and 11:30 am; news conference at 11 a.m. ET
WHERE: Lawyer’s Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD
WHO: Senators Nathaniel McFaddenLisa Gladden and Anthony Muse
Delegates Jill Carter and Curt Anderson 
Walter Lomax, Founder and Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative
Toni Holness, Staff Attorney/Policy Associate, ACLU of Maryland
Keith Wallington, Project Manager, Justice Policy Institute 
Individuals released under the Unger decision

Action Alert: News the main stream media will not give you!

The hearing dates for our legislation Inmates – Life Imprisonment – Parole Reform are: February 17th HB-303 at 1:00 PM, and February 19th SB-111 at 1:00 pm in the Judicial committee hearing rooms.


We are planning a rally and press conference in Lawyers Mall in Annapolis between 10:30 and 11:30 am on the morning of the 17th before going inside to testify at the hearing.  If you are concerned about this issue you are welcome to attend.  Don’t wait until your moment of truth before deciding to take action, it may be too late.


There is some misinformation being circulate that our legislation does not seek removal of the governor from the parole process. This is not correct; the legislation seeks to remove the 180 days, along with the requirement of the governor’s signature for release. We’ve sought a retraction to be sent notifying people of the mistake so that they are not confused. Still waiting to see it!


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 lives 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 ask is; Equal Justice, Join us or get out of our way.

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