On February 22, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample submitted testimony to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 499 – Workgroup to Study Reentry with amendments.
The House Judiciary Committee considered the bill’s cross-file, HB 661, on February 23. MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally testified before the Committee on this version of the bill.
SB 499 establishes a workgroup tasked with examining the role of State and local agencies in the reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals who have served their sentence, and requires the group to make recommendations on possible improvements to current reentry policy. Counties fully support the creation of this workgroup, but request that the General Assembly consider including local correctional representatives in the process. Many of Maryland’s county correctional facilities already provide reentry plans to help reintegrate formerly incarcerated individuals, and the State could benefit from their insight into how these programs might be improved.
From the MACo Testimony:
True rehabilitation hinges on the ability to incorporate oneself back into society as a productive, law-abiding citizen. These individuals need to establish housing, employment, transportation, and more for themselves and potentially dependents. These priorities must also be managed in conjunction with reentry requirements like navigating medical treatments, accessing peer services, and keeping up with check-ins and parole protocols. Reentry services have the potential to influence how well an individual is prepared to navigate this process and help eliminate obstacles that might present a setback. These teams in each jurisdiction face similar challenges as state programs but from a slightly different vantage point. Resources are often limited, and challenges abound, but they are steadfast in their resolve. Recommendations that are applicable to every stage of reentry will ensure that programs at both the state and county level can hedge success for as many individuals as possible.
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