I commend Maryland’s legislators for passing the Gender Responsive Pre-release Act (SB0684/HB0801) during the 2020 legislative session. I now hope that our legislators will follow through on their commitment to support Maryland’s women as they return to their families and communities. I strongly urge you to override Governor Hogan’s veto. We can no longer afford to deny Maryland women their right to equitable pre-release services.
MARYLAND’S PRE-RELEASE SERVICES ARE INEQUITABLE: There are ZERO dedicated pre-release facilities for women and SEVERAL for men.
WOMEN ARE NOT BEING SUPPORTED: At the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCI-W), women report that they do not feel prepared for their release due to a lack of support while planning for housing, employment, and other re-entry needs.
WOMEN NEED REENTRY SUPPORT for the sake of their families: Seventy-five percent of incarcerated women are primary caretakers of children, and 42% of mothers in state prisons may be single parents.
MARYLAND IS WASTING MONEY by ignoring women’s needs: It costs $13 thousand more per capita and $1.17 MILLION more per year to house women on pre-release at MCI-W, compared to the costs of housing men at one of their standalone pre-release facilities.
The Maryland Legislative Task Force on Reentry, decades of re-entry-related research, numerous legislators, and advocates across the the state have all come to the same conclusion: transitioning individuals to a community-based setting with comprehensive services in the months prior to release increases the likelihood that they will successfully re-enter their communities and avoid future contact with the legal system.
I support the Women’s Prerelease Equity Coalition in their call for equitable pre-release services for women in Maryland. I, therefore, urge members of Maryland’s General Assembly to override Governor Hogan’s veto and pass the Gender Responsive Pre-release Act into law.