While budget crunches have some states releasing inmates early to relieve the pressure, Maryland is considering a proposal to limit the amount of “good time” an inmate can earn, causing them to serve more of their actual prison sentence. The Maryland legislature is considering lengthening prison terms after a few notable cases of violence committed by parolees or recently released inmates.
Good time and other programs like it vary from state to state. Basically, people serving time in state institutions can earn credits that shorten the length of time they spend behind bars. Things like education, employment while incarcerated, good behavior, and counseling all have the potential to earn inmates time off of their sentence.
According to supporters of programs like this, it encourages good behavior within the walls of state institutions and keeps inmates working towards self-betterment. According to opponents, it undermines the justice of a prison sentence and gives offenders a break they don’t deserve.
One story cited here in the Washington Post points out a specific offender, Shawn Henderson, who was released early from prison for good behavior, and murdered a young woman outside of her apartment building. The victim’s family will speak to the legislature in hopes of putting an end to early releases.
Money is never a good justification for putting other lives at risk. However, there are some very clear benefits to using programs like good time credits in prisons. They have the potential to encourage rehabilitation in a prison setting that isn’t always conducive to reform. But, it is obvious from the Henderson case that not all inmates released early continue to do well once outside of the prison walls.
Many people serving time behind the walls of Maryland State Prisons or even county jails recognize their crimes as a huge mistake. Only a small percentage of offenders are cold blooded killers. For those people who are facing years of prison due to drug addiction or multiple DUI’s, a program like this can truly help them get back on the right track.
When facing criminal charges that could land you in jail, you have every right to be nervous and wonder if your sentence will be affected by this new legislation being considered by the state. If you are up against criminal charges and not sure where to turn, contact me today for a consultation on your case.