Help Remove Maryland's Governor from the Parole Process
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This petition is in support of bills being proposed before Maryland's General Assembly in 2018.
The bills intent would serve to effectively reform Maryland's Parole System by removing the Governor of Md from the parole process for inmates serving life sentences.
Currently only Maryland along with two other states (Oklahoma, California) are still using this antiquated parole system which their Governor has the final approval of parole, for inmates serving life sentences. The other 49 states have recognized the flaws with this type of system and have separated the powers of their executive and judicial branches of government by doing away with this function of the Governor.
Maryland Judges are appointed by the Governor so they can handle this function. Judges have the experience and discretion to sentence citizens accordingly. The Maryland Parole Board operates under Maryland's Division of Corrections and has the expertise to determine whether a person convicted of a crime is eligible and/or suitable for parole.
Currently, the Parole Board defers its recommendations back to the Governor for final approval, which creates the conundrum of an illegal sentence. Lifers are a large segment of Maryland's prison population and are the most overlooked and discriminated against.
In 1996, Maryland adopted Gov. Glendening's defacto, "Life means life" policy. Since 1996, there has not been a single lifer paroled by Maryland’s Parole Board. What this means, is despite Md's exceedingly high recidivism rate, inmates serving life sentences statistically do not contribute to that recidivism rate. Lifers are not counted because they are not being paroled. To the contrary, studies indicate lifers have the lowest recidivism rate of any group of released prisoners. Less than 3% of lifers return to prison.
The average rate of recidivism for other released offenders is 70-75% (Source: the sentencing project, "No Exit' the expanding of use of life sentences in America")
The latest "Test batch" of lifers to be released Was Not through the parole process but through judicial proceedings via the UNGER case. From 2013 to the present, there have been roughly 250 inmates who have had their life sentences overturned and have been released directly into society from Maryland's prison system. All of the “UNGER BATCH” had spent more than 25 years incarcerated. “Go to: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-ungers-righting-a-miscarriage-of-justice Since their release, two have died, one had a misdemeanor offense and NONE have returned to prison.
In Feb 2018 the House and Senate members will reconvene to vote on bills that will remove the Governor from the parole process. With your electronic signature you can help Maryland reform its prison parole system by allowing the Division of Corrections to do its job.
Let’s remove the Governor of Maryland from the parole process.
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