Maryland Legislative Briefing
Action Item: Support HB 131
Rabbi Feinberg’s Reflection on the Insurrection
Join Us for a Maryland Legislative Briefing on HB 131
When: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 11 a.m.
|Rabbi Feinberg||Jazz Lewis||Richard Van Wickler||Kimberly Haven|
IAHR launches its efforts to pass HB 131 with a briefing on the legislation. Joining us for the briefing are Rabbi Charles Feinberg, IAHR Executive Director, Jazz Lewis (D., Prince George County and sponsor of the legislation, Richard Van Wickler, who was the Superintendent of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections in Keene, New Hampshire for 27 years, Kimberly Haven, IAHR Legislative Liaison.
Jazz Lewis is an American politician and Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Delegate Lewis represents Maryland's 24th Legislative District, currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee as Chair of the Family Law Subcommittee and is the Chair of the Maryland House Democratic Caucus.
Richard Van Wickler is a veteran of the United States Army and served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 23 years. Mr. Van Wickler as superintendent of a county jail limited the use of solitary confinement and introduced many humane reforms into the jail.
Kimberly Haven has extensive advocacy experience in the State of Maryland. Kim has worked on 2013 Maryland Statewide “Ban the Box” Fair Hiring Campaign, the 2014 Baltimore Fair Hiring Act, and the 2015 Baltimore “Ban the Box” Expansion Act. Kim has been the Maryland Legislative Liaison for the last three years.
Action Item: Support HB 131
The Maryland Legislature opens its 2021 session this week, on Wednesday, January 13. Our friend, Delegate Jazz Lewis (D. Prince George County), is sponsoring HB 131 which mandates that the Department of Correctional Services provide transitional services to incarcerated people six months prior to their release.
The bill mandates that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) introduce a “step-down” program that gradually increases out of cell time and group interaction to people in restrictive housing. The bill also mandates that the step-down program be individualized to meet the needs of the incarcerated person and “involve a coordinated, multidisciplinary treatment team approach.”
The background for this legislation is the fact that over the last 5 years DPSCS has released annually anywhere from 250 to 300 people directly from restrictive housing to the community. We have always felt that releasing people directly from restrictive housing to the community is a threat to public safety and undermines the chances of incarcerated people to reenter the community successfully.
What We Need You to Do
Please copy the letter to Christine Kalambary, IAHR’s administrative assistant and to Kimberly Haven our Legislative Liaison. We need copies of these letters so that we can present them at a hearing for our bill.
Dear Delegates Clippinger and Atterbeary:
Please support HB 131 that mandates the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to provide transitional services to incarcerated people in six months prior to their release. The bill requires the DPSCS to introduce a “step down” program to those incarcerated in restrictive housing as well as involving a coordinated multidisciplinary treatment team approach.
Over the last five years, the Department releases anywhere from 250 to 300 people directly to the community from restrictive housing without any form of step-down transition. This practice poses a threat to public safety and undermines the chances of incarcerated people to reenter the community successfully.
Rabbi Feinberg’s Reflection on the Insurrection, the Attack on the Capitol
January 10, 2020
The events of January 5 and 6 have laid bare the bankruptcy and moral corruption of the national Republican Party. The Republican Party has no vision for our country and no real program to address the many serious issues that we face as a country: namely, the unchecked spread of Covid-19, the ongoing economic distress, the brutality and racism in our criminal justice system, the lack of access to medical care for millions of our residents, the ongoing threat of climate change, and the crumbling of our infrastructure. The Republican Party is divided not about how to address the challenges we all face but how to hold onto power for power's sake. One faction believes in raising all kinds obstacles to people registering to vote such as possessing a special id, banning mail-in voting or making it exceedingly difficult, making it difficult to register, limiting the number of polling places---the list goes on and on.
The other faction really does not believe in democracy or politics by questioning the integrity of elections, and by believing the opposition party is illegitimate. Too many critics of the Democratic Party and of Democrats believe that the Democratic Party is not legitimate. Too often they paint the Democratic Party and Democrats with a broad brush using such terms as "socialist", "communist", and the "far Left." Therefore, according to them a Democratic victory at the polls should not be possible or justified.
All this has been laid bare by the election in Georgia of Rev Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and the attack on the Capitol the following day. The election of the two Senators from Georgia and the election of Joe Biden to the Presidency has revealed that the amount of fraud or mistakes in our national election is miniscule. All the Presidential recounts in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona revealed a remarkably mistake and fraud free election. Electronic ballots were matched to paper ballots over and over again. Challenges to signatures came up mostly empty. Whatever mistakes that were revealed did not in any way change the final result of the presidential election.
The elections did reveal that when voters were given multiple ways to cast their ballot--early voting, mail-in voting, numerous and accessible polling places--the public responded in record numbers. We had one of the greatest turnouts in an election in recent American history. Access was expanded without compromising the integrity of the election.
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