MAJR Plans Public Sessions

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 the list of public presentations here.

Sign our petition to reform Maryland’s Bail system:

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ABA Speaks Out

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 detention of defendants before trial due to their inability to pay. Read the full report here.

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Shadow Prisons

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 of people in their custody.

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An End to Money Bail

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:

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Shank on Criminal Justice Overhaul

ChrisShankCriminal 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 recidivism and help those who have served their time become law-abiding citizens. That’s why Gov. Larry Hogan championed and signed the Justice Reinvestment Act, legislation that will further reduce the state’s incarcerated population, rein in corrections spending and reinvest in strategies to increase public safety.

See full editorial in the HeraldMail.

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Repeal of Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenders

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 prison time for newly convicted, nonviolent drug offenders.

Taken together, advocates said, the changes put Maryland at the forefront of states that are adopting major criminal-justice reform.

No longer will a person convicted of possession with intent to distribute even a small amount of drugs face an automatic prison sentence of 10 years. And hundreds of nonviolent offenders who have been given severe penalties over the past three decades will be able to appeal to a judge to get out years ahead of schedule.

Read the entire article in the Washington Post.

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Capital Gazette – April 20

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 the support of both the Republican governor and the legislature’s Democratic leaders. We’re optimistic it will not only leave the system more equitable but make average Marylanders safer, while saving money now spent on excessive incarceration of nonviolent offenders.”

Read the full editorial here.

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Politics didn’t stop progress

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 Charitable Trusts to deeply analyze Maryland’s criminal justice system to determine what policies and practices were effective in increasing public safety and which ones were wasteful. As was the case in the two dozen other states that have engaged in a similar process, the group found plenty of the latter and came up with a consensus list of recommendations that Pew estimated would save about $250 million over 10 years, funds that would be reinvested in proven strategies to prevent crime and reduce recidivism. Despite some tense moments, the legislation passed. The final form is weaker than the original proposal in some ways and arguably stronger in some others. It represents a solid first step. In the years ahead, we hope Maryland’s experience with it will prove the value of the approach and give some skeptics more comfort with additional reforms.”

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Justice Reinvestment Act

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.

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Baltimore Sun

Md. public defender, prosecutor both back criminal justice reforms.

By Paul DeWolfe, Scott Shellenberger

We are two unlikely allies on criminal justice reform: a longtime public defender and a longtime prosecutor. Although we represent opposing sides of a criminal case, and often opposing sides of policy battles, we both believe strongly in justice and public safety, and we want the best for Maryland citizens. It is these common beliefs that bring us together now to back the Justice Reinvestment Act (SB 1005/HB 1312), a data-driven, evidence-based policy package, which we are proud to have helped develop.

Read the full article in the Baltimore Sun

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