I am a family
member, loved one, and concerned citizen of an incarcerated individual in Maryland ’s prisons. In 1993, following the
tragic murder suicide of an individual in the work release, prerelease system,
all persons serving parole eligible life sentences were removed from those programs and returned to medium security prisons.
The rationale was to evaluate those individual in the programs, and return those deemed qualified to continue in the programs.
(There were 134 lifers in those programs.) To date that has not happened, because in 1995, newly elected Governor, Glendening’s
decided that life means life, and that he would not consider releasing anyone unless they were terminally ill, or very old.
Subsequent administrations have adopted his policy.
there were over 1700 persons serving parole eligible life sentences, to day, as of July 2008, there are over 2,328, 53 are
women. And, Africans Americans are represented disproportionably among this group, more then two thirds. In 1995, when Governor
Glendening’s took office, 13 individuals were recommended for parole 2 were approved, one for medical reasons, and the
other for commutation. In 1996, 1 person was recommended and approved for medial reasons. There were no recommendations in
1997. In 1998, 7 lifers were recommended, 2 were approved for medical reasons. In 1999 1 lifer was recommended for medical
reasons, but was denied. In 2000, 4 lifers were recommended, all were denied... 1n 2001, 3 were recommended, all denied. In
2002, 5 were recommended, 1 was approved for medical reasons. In 2003, during Governor Ehrlich’s administration, 4 were
recommended, 2 were approved for commutation of sentences, 45 and 60 years respectively. In 2004, 16 were recommended, 4 were
approved, one for medical, the others commuted to 45, 50, and 65 years. In 2005, 6 were recommended, all were denied. In 2006,
4 were recommended, all denied. 1n 2007 through 2008, doing current Governor O’Malley’s administration there has
been no recommendation, nor commutations.
the 1993 removal of lifers from the prerelease system, individuals serving parole eligible life sentences started their sentence
in maximum security, progressed to medium, minimum, prerelease, work release, family leaves, and eventually to parole and
release. They are now warehoused in medium security institutions without any hope of ever being released.
As a family
member, loved one, and concerned citizen I support serious consideration of policy changes, and if need be, changes in the
law to reflect a more sensible criminal justice policy. I support the advocacy
of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative, seeking objectivity in the process. The ask is: after an individual has served
20 years of a current sentence; received a recommendation from the parole board, and favorable evaluation from the Patuxent Institution, they appear before
a three Judge panel for consideration of release.
for your time and kind consideration of this issue.