Legislators unveil crime package to address “violent crime crisis” in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Combating crime and violence is one of the top priorities Maryland legislators plan on focusing on this year. And with a slew of new crime bills being released, lawmakers hope this will help put violent criminals behind bars and make sure they stay there.

“Everyone I think should have an interest in protecting the lives and the livelihood of our citizens in the state of Maryland,” said Maryland Delegate Chris Adams (R-District 37B).

The Maryland House of Delegates plans on fighting crime this session with new pieces of legislation that they say will help fight the “urgent crisis” of violent crimes throughout the state.

“Our communities should be safe. Our young people should grow up in a safe environment. Our elderly should not be robbed at gunpoint,” said Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-District 37A).

In the crime package unveiled by the Republican Caucus are six bills that lawmakers hope to pass this year. One of those bills would require a person convicted of a violent crime to serve a minimum of 90% of their sentence, instead of 50%, before they’re eligible for parole.

“We’re seeing a lot of scenarios where violent criminals, felonies, are not serving their sentence so they go back out on the street and they re-commit a crime,” said Adams.

Along with allowing cameras inside the courtroom during sentencing, legislators are also pushing for a bill that would make gun theft a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

“If there is a handgun or a gun used in a crime, about 50% of them are stolen guns so it just makes sense that we move this legislation forward,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman (R-District 38C).

Lawmakers also plan on tackling legislation this session that focuses on plea deals, sentencing, and even laws for the state to follow when dealing with illegal immigrants who’ve committed a violent crime.

“We have violent criminals that are detained by ice and released because of how the state handles the situations,” said Adams.

Lawmakers add that this isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue, but a statewide issue that needs to be addressed by working together. Governor Larry Hogan also introduced his crime package earlier this month to the General Assembly, which includes tougher sentences for violent offenders who commit crimes with guns, stronger penalties for those who intimidate witnesses, and more transparency to hold judges accountable for their sentencing decisions.

Categories: Local News, Local Politics, Maryland