At the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council’s (JRCC) August meeting analysts from the Public Safety Performance Project within the Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) presented on Maryland’s sentencing and corrections system assessment with an analysis of the community corrections drivers. Community corrections includes probation, parole and other means of supervision outside of the prison and within the community.
Highlights from Tuesday’s presentation included:
- A 5% decrease in community corrections population in the past decade.
- 80% of offenders under community supervision are on probation.
- More females are on probation than on post-release supervision.
- Blacks are over-represented in the probation and post-release supervision population.
- 71% of the probation population is moderate or low-risk.
- 62% of the post-release supervision population is moderate or low-risk.
- A little less than 40% of people under community supervision fail supervision.
- Almost 60% of unsuccessful community supervision cases fail and low risk offenders are most likely to fail without a new criminal conviction.
- Low risk probationers serve the same amount of time on supervision as high risk probationers.
Some attention was spent on Baltimore City where data demonstrated that improvements in Baltimore City have largely improved rates across the state. For instance, statewide probation success rates were up and that was largely attributed to improvements in probation in Baltimore City. Baltimore City also drives the decline in statewide entries into prison. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:
The researchers found that the number from Baltimore entering prison each year has fallen 43 percent since 2005. At the same time, those in other Maryland jurisdictions have been sent to prison at slightly higher rates and the average term spent in prison has increased.
The effect has been a modest decline in the number of inmates in Maryland’s prisons, from 22,466 in 2005 to 21,326 last year.
Crime rates in Baltimore have fallen less than the rates at which people are being sent to prison. The Pew researchers are still trying to understand the causes of the trends.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the JRCC is reviewing the State’s sentencing structure and will be making recommendations to reduce Maryland’s prison population, improve criminal justice outcomes, and reduce needless correctional spending. The JRCC must issue a final report to the Governor by December 31, 2015.