- FairnessA person’s racial or ethnic group, economic background, or native language must not affect sentencing, punishment while in prison, access to education and job opportunities, parole, or re-entry supports.
- Doing What WorksOur state’s criminal justice system should be accountable for using the practices that have been shown to reduce the likelihood of crimes and recidivism. For example, we know that family ties and visitors can reduce recidivism, so it is important that people who are incarcerated are assisted to maintain these critical connections with community.
- Good StewardshipWhere sensible use of state resources can strengthen our communities to help them prevent crime – for example, through evidence-based programs for at-risk youth – we think this is a better use of our money than lengthy incarceration.
- Second ChancesWe believe that people can change. Given opportunities and support, people who have been incarcerated can choose to return to their communities and families as productive citizens.
- AccountabilityThe state criminal justice system should maintain the data needed to be accountable to citizens. For example, it should be prepared to report on the racial and ethnic group of people in solitary confinement, the length of solitary confinement, and the alternatives to solitary confinement; the number of incarcerated persons who speak languages other than English and how the system is addressing communication issues; the mental health status of persons incarcerated and the measures taken to assist them in recovery.
- Opportunities for ChangeMany people involved with the criminal justice system have experienced trauma, are mentally ill, or have become addicted to substances. Others have learning disabilities, have never learned to read, or are developmentally impaired. We believe in access to treatment, in-prison opportunities, and community supports to help individuals turn their lives around.
- Community SafetyWe believe in safe, healthy communities. We believe all of us are safer when we use evidence-based interventions at every phase of involvement in the criminal justice system. We are all safer when:
- sound community programs are available to prevent crime (for example, mentoring programs for at-risk youth);
- first offenders receive evidence-based interventions that help them avoid further involvement (for example, a diversion to treatment or mediation where appropriate);
- those who are incarcerated have opportunities to turn their lives around (for example, through fully funded NA and AA programs and opportunities to learn a skill); and
- returning citizens do not face barriers to finding treatment, jobs, and housing and are fully supported in their transition to community life so they never go back to prison.
Websites of Interest
Smart on Crime
Author Archives: Jim
Shrinking Prisons, Growing Opportunities Governor Larry Hogan and officials of the union for correctional officers (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) have both said it: correctional officer vacancies in Maryland prisons are rising. At the same time, … Continue reading
Find out what’s wrong with Maryland’s Pretrial Justice System – and how to fix it Maryland’s General Assembly convenes 1/11/17 and with voters’ support could make a difference. Find out how about proposed changes and what you can do. Find … Continue reading
News Brief: Excessive Bail ABA President Linda A. Klein urged the Maryland Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to amend state court rules to reduce the use of excessive bail in pretrial detention, which often leads to continued … Continue reading
New Southern Poverty Law Center report, Shadow Prisons Immigrant Detention in the South, uncovers abuse and neglect at immigrant detention centers in the South. This report shows that immigrant detention centers in the South fail to ensure the rights and safety … Continue reading
The Movement for Black Lives calls for an End To Money Bail, Mandatory Fines, Fees, Court Surcharges, and “Defendant Funded” Court Proceedings. See their post at: https://policy.m4bl.org/end-war-on-black-people/#end-to-money-bail
Criminal justice overhaul will lead to better outcomes in Md. By Christopher B. Shank Jul 19, 2016 Being tough on crime is no longer about locking offenders up and throwing away the key. It’s about smarter, better options that reduce … Continue reading
How Maryland came to repeal mandatory minimums for drug offenders – The Washington Post About 1,600 prisoners serving long sentences in Maryland will become eligible for early release in October 2017, just as the state does away with mandatory minimum … Continue reading
Justice Reinvestment Act is a milestone “Partisanship usually hogs the headlines, but the most important action of the 2016 General Assembly session — one that will affect the state’s criminal justice system for years, and probably for decades — had … Continue reading
The Baltimore Sun had the following article on April 12, 2016: Criminal justice “During the last year, lawmakers from both parties, the Hogan administration, Attorney General Brian Frosh, members of the judiciary and others worked with researchers from the Pew … Continue reading
Justice Reinvestment Act receives bipartisan support Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and former public safety and corrections secretary Stu Simms, a Democrat, are pushing for the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act. Read the full report covered by WBAL-TV.