Saturday, July 2, 2022

Play

The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.

Play

SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Maryland Ends Governor’s Ability to Halt Parole

Play

Thursday, December 9, 2021   

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Maryland lawmakers voted this week to repeal the governor's ability to reject parole decisions for people serving life sentences, taking itself off a list of just three states where governors have that power.

Monica Cooper, executive director of the Maryland Justice Project, said for years, state delegates have put forward legislation to end the practice, which disproportionately impacted African Americans.

She thinks it is inhumane to watch elderly incarcerated folks who are not a danger to their communities deteriorate in prison. She pointed out even during the height of the COVID pandemic, Maryland prison officials were releasing older inmates who have not since re-offended.

"It's a win for the African American community," Cooper asserted. "And it's a win for families, children, children who are now 40 years old who haven't seen their parent since they were three. It's a win for the community all around."

The House voted 92 to 46 late Tuesday to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of Senate Bill 202 after the Senate approved it the day before. Opponents of the bill say it allows dangerous people back onto the streets and sends a wrong message to communities looking for help with violent crime.

But Cooper maintained everyone should be given a second chance, especially incarcerated people who are falsely imprisoned or committed crimes as teenagers and have reformed after years in prison.

Her group has been working for the veto override with advocates including Lea Green of Maryland CURE, whose son is serving a life term, and Walter Lomax, a Marylander who was finally exonerated after spending 39 years in prison for fatal robberies he did not commit.

They argued parole committees, who have worked with incarcerated people, are better to judge release than a governor reading a profile.

"Parole and probation make decisions based on people's institutional records, based on the amount of programs that you've done," Cooper explained. "These are actual people who over years upon years upon years know this individual."

Older offenders are much less likely than younger offenders to re-offend following release, according to a study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Over an eight-year follow-up period, about 13% of offenders age 65 or older at the time of release were re-arrested compared with about 67% of offenders younger than age 21.

Disclosure: Maryland Justice Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…


Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …


The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …

Environment

Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021