Maryland looking to change inmate release laws

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Lawmakers are looking to make changes to current inmate release policy.

They’re calling at the “Suzanne Jones Act” and if passed it would require inmates released from prison to return to jurisdictions where they lived before incarceration.

Republican Delegate Jason Buckel of District 1B said, “We get a tremendous amount of convicted felons. We want them to rehabilitate themselves and do well.”

Delegates sponsoring House Bill 928 expressed the critical need for inmate release reform.

As of now, the state doesn’t have laws that require corrections facilities to return inmates that have completed sentencing to where they originally lived.

Del. Buckel also said, “Prisons in Maryland tend to be scattered in more rural counties, counties that are outside the metropolitan areas like Eastern Correctional Institution by the Eastern Shore.”

Meaning more often than not, they end up living in those rural areas, which are areas they’re unfamiliar with.

Del. Buckel said, “We’re finding out that a decent percentage of them, through whatever administrative mechanism, are being released into the counties where the prisons are as opposed to the counties where their home networks are.”

Republican Delegate Paul Corderman of District 2B said, “We receive inmates sometimes from ECI that have no connection to western Maryland at all.”

The new law would require that corrections provide transportation and move inmates back to where they originally lived before serving time.

It would also require parole and probation officers monitor those inmates in their home towns.

Del. Corderman also said, “We’re really not setting them up to be integrated back into society. We need to be able to provide them with the proper resources so they can succeed.”

We sat down with Democratic Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes of District 37A who tells us the bill is a step in the right direction.

She said, “House bill 928 has merit in its own sense if we are doing our due diligence as a state and making sure that there’s wrap around services.”

If passed, this law could go into effect as early as October of this year.

Categories: Local News, Maryland