Talking Points

Sponsors:  Senator Will Smith/Delegate Jazz Lewis

Direct Release to Community – Prohibiting LR 1425

  • THIS IS A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE
  • Over the last 3 years, 834 inmates have been released directly back to the community who are unprepared to return safely
  • Prohibits the release of inmates who have not had access to transition services to the community from solitary confinement
  • Requires the Department of Correction to:
    • Provide a transitional plan out of solitary confinement
    • Provide substantial re-socialization
    • Provide regular mental health counseling
    • Provide a substantial reentry plan and service transition
  • Allows for the following exceptions:
    • An inmate can request isolation from other inmates, called protective custody
    • An inmate may be placed in disciplinary segregation if there is a clear and convincing evidence that he or she poses a threat to the safety of the institution, staff or other inmates, or is a credible flight risk

Restrictive Housing Reform - LR 2544

  • This is both a public safety issue and a humanitarian issue
  • This bill will lead to more humane conditions of confinement
  • An inmate may not be held in solitary confinement more than 30 consecutive days for a first offense in a given year
  • Prior to being placed in solitary confinement an inmate shall have a mental health evaluation
  • The Department must provide de-escalation opportunities
  • Sanctions cannot be “consecutive”
  • Solitary must not be used for non-disciplinary reasons
  • Prepare individualized plans for every person with the goal of returning to general population that provides step-down opportunities
  • Set clear time limits on the length of each phase in the step-down program to ensure that people in the program are able to progress through the phases and reenter a less-restrictive housing unit
  • Amend its policies to specify that disciplinary segregation is a sanction of last resort

IAHR Supports: Reproductive Justice Inside

Restrictive Housing – Pregnant Women LR 1763

Sponsors: Senator Susan Lee/Delegate Wanika Fisher

  • Maryland places all pregnant women involuntarily in medical isolation during her last trimester a practice that in essence punishes a woman for being pregnant and one that there is no medical or institutional rationale for its use.
  • Pregnancy is a medical event that often carries greater risks of stress and depression and the experience of forced isolation of 22 hours or more a day in a small cell poses significant potential harms to the pregnant individual and her baby, including miscarriage, risk of infection, preterm labor, and low birth weight.
    • This bill will prohibit the involuntary placement of inmates in restrictive housing/medical isolation/infirmary/medical during pregnancy, labor, as well as during the post-pregnancy recovery period.  
  • Post-pregnancy recovery period means the eight-week period allowing full recovery after a birth or pregnancy loss. This prohibition also applies to an inmate or detainee with other pregnancy outcomes – such as stillbirth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, abortion, or other non-live birth outcome
  • This legislation would include juvenile justice facilities, state and local institutions, jails, pre-trial and home detention facilities.
  • Pregnant inmates or detainees who are placed in this restrictive housing must be medically assessed every eight (8) hours to ensure positive mental and physical health.
  • Pregnant inmates or detainees shall have access to those privileges consistent with those in general population.

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