Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

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
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

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