Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board: Meeting Summary

April 24, 2017
Annapolis, MD

Judge Daniel Long, presiding, opened the meeting. He noted that a replacement for him in his duties as judge has not yet been found and he is carrying on with a full docket. He hopes this will be cleared up soon.

Judge Long announced that a new director for the JRA will be selected by Oct 1, 2017. A priority will be collecting data on the impacts of the JRA legislation.

Related Legislative Activity

Senator Hough stated that a November 2017 report will provide data on the impact of the Rules Change relative to bail reform. He hopes this will lead to better legislation for the next session.

Delegate Dumas noted an effort to form a long-term Task Force to look at the issues around Crime Rings in Maryland. She stressed the need for sentencing to align with the JRA. She is also exploring with Donald Hogan the possibility of securing funding for pretrial services through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP).

Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative
– Glenn Fueston , Vice-Chair
Alarming statistics related to Maryland’s heroin/opioid-related deaths were shared. Mr. Fueston expressed concern about the recent introduction of another stronger drug additive, carfentanyl (purported to be 10,000 times as strong as morphine, the drug is used clinically as a sedative for large animals like elephants but is capable of being absorbed through human skin). Mr.Fueston stressed the need for all agencies to be involved in addressing this problem.

The Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative: Evaluation and Treatment Capacity
– Dr. Barbara Bazron, Executive Director, Behavior Health Administrator, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Dr. Bazron presented a written power point. It can be viewed in the attachment below. Some of the points that were addressed were:

  1.  The current residential treatment capacity has increased from 120 treatment slots in 2015 to 240 slots in 2017; an additional $1.5M was provided from the Governor’s budget. In 2017, $10.5M is available to support the drug treatment programs.
  2. From Jan 2017- March 2017, 162 individuals were committed to treatment pursuant to 8-507; 105 individuals were awaiting residential placement as of April 13, 2017.
  3. In FY12-14, the estimated wait time for placement was 167 days. From January 2017-April 2017, wait time has been reduced by 56% to 91 days.

The JRA target is 21 days.

Dr. Brazon noted that a high percentage (60%) of people who died from drug overdoses had previous incidences of overdose behavior. She stressed the need for a more intensive surveillance of this group. Also, a clear protocol on bed placement is needed.
Another attendee shared that various agencies are addressing drug addiction issues on multiple fronts. For example, 2017 legislation now provides that a nurse may administer Naloxone on school property (HB1082).

Preparation for Applications for Modification or Reduction of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
– Judge Kathleen Cox

The Judge has been working with Scott Shellenburger and Paul DeWolfe on the JRA law, which allows sentence modifications for previous mandatory sentences if approved. They have created a process to implement this change, which begins on October 1, when those charged will be able to apply for a modification of their sentence. As of November 2016, 582 (12%) of inmates had received Mandatory Minimum Sentences. Each person will have a case manager, a case review and recommendations. County State’s Attorneys will receive the names of those eligible before October 1.

DPSCS Implementation Progress
– Patricia Goins- Johnson

Ms. Goins-Johnson presented a summary of the status of ongoing changes mandated by JRA. . Challenges were sited related to Department of Corrections (DOC) assessment and Case planning. The DOC is facing staff vacancies in various areas: case managers, substance abuse, social workers, mental health, and education.

A Pretrial Detention Data Report for January 1, 2017 was also presented. Each county is to report again on March 31. This is helpful information, which connects to the Pretrial bail reform issue.

Key meeting documents, including presentations and PowerPoints, may be viewed on the Justice Oversight Board’s website.

Thanks to Candy Clark for this report.