Pass the Second Look Act in Maryland

Act Now

Saying YES to the Maryland Second Look Act is the clear and logical choice. The Second Look Act would allow courts to take a second look at excessive sentences, decades after the crime, to reevaluate and assess the growth and rehabilitation of incarcerated people and potentially grant them a second chance at freedom.

We have seen documented cases of the police racially profiling Black people. There is clear evidence of racial discrimination in arresting and sentencing in Maryland. Not only are there cases, but statistics show extreme racial disparities. 71 percent of the Maryland prison population is Black – more than twice the national average.

The Maryland Second Look Act would give Marylanders in prison opportunities to truly rehabilitate, express remorse, transform for the better, find ways to give back to the community, and not give up due to lack of meaningful avenues for release. After the devastating impact of mass incarceration, families could finally be reunited, and their communities would be strengthened.

Together, let’s create more meaningful avenues for rehabilitation by urging your legislators to vote “Yes” on SB 123/HB 724 to pass the Second Look Act.

Message Recipients:
House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Members

Marylanders need a second chance. Take action.
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Vote “Yes” on SB 123/HB 724 to pass the Second Look Act
Dear Maryland legislator,

At every stage in Maryland’s legal justice system, we see documented cases of racial profiling by police and racial discrimination in arresting and sentencing. In fact, Maryland is the state that incarcerates the highest percentage of Black people. 71 percent of our prison population are Black people, more than twice the national average and far outranking states like Mississippi and Alabama.

We urgently need to remedy this issue, which affects Black families and communities across our state. This legislative session, I am calling on you to pass the Maryland Second Look Act. The Second Look Act would reduce the existing racial disparities by creating more meaningful avenues for sentence reconsideration for Marylanders who have demonstrated their rehabilitation after serving 20 years of incarceration.

The Second Look Act would not guarantee anyone release, but it would create more fairness and strengthen communities decimated by mass incarceration. Marylanders who are incarcerated will get the opportunities to express genuine remorse, focus on transforming for the better, support their loved ones, find ways to give back to the community, and not give up on their rehabilitation due to lack of meaningful avenues for release.

Research shows that young adults are still developing, and recidivism rates decrease among people released from prison in their 40s and beyond. All the available evidence we have in Maryland also supports the fact that people serving extreme sentences are the least likely to reoffend. In the 12 years since the Maryland Supreme Court held that improper jury instructions invalidated the life with parole sentences of 235 people, 96% have remained in the community without incident. These young adults, 90 percent of whom are Black, spent an average of 40 years behind bars but could have been contributing to our communities' decades earlier. In the last two years, the dozens of people to return to the community through parole or the Juvenile Restoration Act have shown similarly compelling success rates.

In the not-so-distant past Black people were excessively sentenced and denied parole based on shameful and now repudiated “superpredator” mythology. Allowing courts to take a second look at the sentence, decades after the crime, is crucial to ensure that excessive sentences due to racism and other biases do not go unchecked.

Let’s continue to fix racial disparities in Maryland’s carceral system. Vote “Yes” on SB 123/HB 724 to pass the Second Look Act.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]

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