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Attorney General Gansler Urges General Assembly to Pass the Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014
Tour of Baltimore's Community Kitchen highlights need to help people with criminal records seeking employment and to make neighborhoods safer

Baltimore, MD (March 11, 2014) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today urged the Maryland General Assembly to approve the Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014, which would give people with criminal records a greater chance to stop the "revolving door" of recidivism through a job. The legislation (Senate Bill 1056 and House Bill 1166) allows individuals with certain nonviolent misdemeanors an opportunity to "shield" a conviction while seeking employment. Attorney General Gansler discussed his support after a tour of the Community Kitchen, a Baltimore-based program of the Episcopal Community Service of Maryland, which houses a food service training program for formerly incarcerated persons. (Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marylandoag/sets/72157642211340815/)

"I speak as a lifelong prosecutor when I say we must do more to help people in this circumstance get a job so they can live the productive lives they want to support themselves and their families," said Attorney General Gansler. "This is one step we can take to reduce the unacceptable recidivism rate in Maryland. We can slow down the revolving door of our criminal justice system, return these men and women to their communities and improve public safety in the process."

The Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014 is among Attorney General Gansler's priority bills pending before the General Assembly this legislative session. After the tour and news conference, he joined advocates and community groups in Annapolis to testify in support of the cross-filed bills heard by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Both committees are scheduled to begin hearings on this legislation today at 1:00 p.m.

From the Attorney General's letters of support submitted to the committees today:

Having a job is the key to any individual's economic stability and that crucial component is especially true for those seeking to reenter society from incarceration. The mark of a criminal conviction casts a long shadow, often depriving those who make good choices from the benefit of a chance to compete for jobs, housing and services…

In Maryland, more than 24,500 people are held in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections' facilities. The majority will be released back into the community and almost 50% of those released end up back in prison within three years. Furthermore, an additional 61,700 men and women are under community supervision.

To read the Attorney General's letters of support for both bills visit:
http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/SB1056Ltr031114.pdf and,
http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/HB1166Ltr031114.pdf

   

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