Justice Reinvestment Act on the Move in the House

A bill to transform Maryland’s criminal justice system and reinvest savings into programs to reduce recidivism is on its way out of committee. The bill, HB 1312, is expected to be on the House floor by the end of the week.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The House Judiciary Committee voted 17-3 on Wednesday to advance the Justice Reinvestment Act. A vote in the House Health and Government Operations Committee, which also is considering the bill, is expected on Thursday.

The bill pushes more low-level drug offenders into treatment, allows more people to expunge convictions from their records, lets some offenders out sooner and reduces the time that parole violators spend behind bars. The term “reinvestment” refers to the goal of saving money by incarcerating fewer people and plowing the money into drug treatment and crime prevention.

“It’s a change in the paradigm,” said Del. Kathleen Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat who is vice chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee. She has been leading the House’s deliberations on the bill, including several hours’ worth of meetings of both committees this week.

Following the Health and Government Operations Committee’s vote, the full House of Delegates could begin debate on the bill Thursday night or Friday.

The bill ultimately is destined for a conference committee because the Senate passed a version of the bill that differs on several key details. Some advocates for criminal justice reform have said the Senate version won’t result in significant savings that were envisioned.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.

Previous coverage on Conduit Street: Justice Reinvestment ‘Ball’ Now in House ‘Court’