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DPSCS attempts to further dehumanize prisoners!

This petition had 939 supporters

    In November 2015, the Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services announced that it was implementing new restrictions regarding visiting procedures that will affect thousands of prisoners and their families. Those restrictions will: prohibit prisoners from taking pictures with all visitors, limit contact between prisoners and visitors to a hug and a kiss on the cheek at the end of the visit, the number of visitors that will be allowed on a visit has been reduced from 5 to 3 regardless of relation. Prior to the new restrictions, prisoners were allowed to take pictures with visitors and contact was limited to a kiss and a hug at the beginning and the end of a visit. No other contact was allowed. DPSCS's rationale for implementing the new restrictions stems from the concern of contraband entering prisons. While contraband should always be a concern, very little contraband enters a prison through its visiting room. Most of it is smuggled into prisons by correctional officers and other staff, which is evident by the contraband scandal that took place at the state operated Baltimore City Detention Center in which at least a dozen officers were indicted by a grand jury. Moreover, only a small number of prisoners are involved in illegal activities in prison. The vast majority are striving for rehabilitation and building strong family ties, especially with their children, that will prevent another generation from walking in their footsteps.

    While prisoners deserve to be punished for their crimes, the rehabilitation process includes  building strong family ties. Being able to hug a child and to take a picture with a child peaks volumes about its therapeutic value. Instead of decreasing contraband, the new restrictions have the propensity to destroy families and relationships; disrupt rehabilitation; harden prisoners; and even make the children of prisoners bitter and display disruptive behavior. up to 63% of prisoners will be released back into the community one day. The new visiting policy will only contribute to recidivism and the chaos that already exists in poor families and communities. However, those who implement such draconian policies do not live in the communities and neighborhoods that will be affected most.


   Please support this movement to have the new restrictions rescinded. In addition to signing this petition, please contact Governor Larry Hogan at serach "Contact Larry Hogan" and DPSCS Secretary Stephen Moyer at the following email address to express your dissatisfaction with the new visiting rules.

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