This week the Maryland’s Office of the Public Defender (OPD), an OSI-Baltimore grantee, released it’s report on the first year of implementation of the Juvenile Restoration Act (JRA), which was passed by Maryland’s General Assembly in 2021.
The JRA permits people who have served at least 20 years of a sentence for a crime that occurred when they were under the age of 18 to file a motion for reduction of sentence. According to the report, 36 motions were considered during the first year: 23 people were released, four had their sentences reduced, and two faced procedural hurdles. Only 7 were denied on the merits.
Passing the JRA was a goal of OPD’s Decarceration Initiative and OSI has supported OPD and several advocacy partners. In addition, recognizing the importance of successful implementation for long-term success of the JRA, OSI funded social work staff to support successful reentry planning for individuals released.
This intervention is built on the experiences of the Unger cohort, which demonstrated that, with effective support, a significant number of incarcerated people can safely be released to the community.