Maryland

JS Publication March 23, 2009

Maryland’s Parole Supervision Fee: A Barrier to Re-entry

Judy Greene co-authors this report, published by the Brennan Center for Justice, that examines the imposition and collection of legal financial obligations – fines, supervision fees, court costs, and restitution – in Maryland. The report finds that billing individuals $40 per month for their parole supervision is a penny-wise, pound-foolish policy that undercuts the State of Maryland’s commitment to promoting the reentry of people into society after prison. Implemented nearly two decades ago during a national wave of new supervision fees, the Maryland policy was intended to raise extra revenue for general state functions. However, quantitative research performed by Justice Strategies shows that the fee is largely uncollectible, due to the dire financial situation in which parolees find themselves, and that the “paper debt” it creates does more harm than good.

JS Publication September 19, 2006

Progress and Challenges: An analysis of drug treatment and imprisonment in Maryland

Maryland is making slow progress toward the goal of providing "treatment, not incarceration" to nonviolent substance abusers. The number of criminal justice-referred drug treatment admissions grew by 28 percent between 2000 and 2004, while drug imprisonment dropped by seven percent.

But the state still spends too little on drug treatment for patients referred by the justice system - roughly 26 cents for every dollar spent to imprison people convicted of drug offenses. Jurisdictions that relied on drug treatment were more likely to achieve significant crime rate reductions since 2000 than those that relied on drug imprisonment. In the past five years, elected officials in a majority of states have responded to fiscal pressures and the public's waning enthusiasm for the war on drugs by enacting sentencing and correctional reforms designed to reduce costs and improve outcomes. Two years ago, Maryland lawmakers enacted a set of reforms designed to expand the options available to judges, prosecutors, and the state's parole commission for placing addicted defendants in community-based treatment rather than prison. In doing so, the state's elected leaders recognized that the long-term solution to the drug problem lies in "treatment, not incarceration." Read more »

JS Publication September 13, 2005

Unfinished Business: How Sentencing Guidelines Reform Can Further Efforts to Reduce Substance Abuse in Maryland

Despite recent efforts in Maryland to expand access to treatment for addicts caught up in the criminal justice system, the bulk of the state resources available for addressing the problem remain "locked up" in the prison system. The nearly 5,000 drug prisoners incarcerated in Maryland (1 in 5 state prisoners) represent a $100 million-a-year "investment" in a failed approach to combating addiction.

In 2004, Governor Robert Ehrlich and state legislature enacted an historic piece of legislation designed to redirect addicts from prisons and jails into substance abuse treatment by expanding the options available to prosecutors, judges and the Parole Commission. That legislation is only as good as the funding that is available to provide the treatment options for the courts divert people to.

A Justice Strategies analysis of sentencing patterns for drug offenses, which was commissioned by The Campaign for Treatment, Not Incarceration, determined that the state's drug sentencing guidelines are part of the problem. The guidelines, which establish recommended sentence ranges based on the nature of the offense and the defendant's criminal history, promote an outdated "lock 'em-up" response to substance abuse by: Read more »

Syndicate content