A Look at Key Provisions in Justice Reinvestment Act - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

A Look at Key Provisions in Justice Reinvestment Act

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- A panel of Maryland lawmakers has agreed on comprehensive reforms to the state's criminal justice system. The bill, which was months in the making, aims to save money by incarcerating nonviolent inmates less and investing in drug treatment. A House and Senate conference committee reached the compromise Saturday night. To pass, it still needs final approval by the General Assembly before session ends at midnight. Here's a glance at what the bill does:
    
ADMINISTRATIVE RELEASE
    
A key provision provides administrative release for people who serve 25 percent of their sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and theft under $1,500. It loosens requirements that often prevented people from being paroled after serving 25 percent of their sentences. It includes a safety-valve that enables the parole commission to prevent release due to public safety concerns.
    
MANDATORY MINIMUMS
    
The bill eliminates mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offences, such as possession with intent to distribute and drug manufacturing. It leaves lengths of sentences in effect, so judges can still sentence offenders to 20 years for a first or second offense, 25 years for a third offense and 40 years for a third offense. People convicted of third and four offenses will have to serve at least half their sentences to be eligible for parole. Mandatory-minimum sentences remain in place for violent drug dealers and kingpins.
    
REVOCATION CAPS
    
For offenders with minor violations of parole or probation, judges would sentence them to 15 days for a first violation, 30 days for a second and 45 days for a third, instead of potentially longer sentences. Judges would still have discretion to impose longer incarceration out of public safety considerations.
    
RICO
    
The measure includes provisions resembling a bill supported by Gov. Larry Hogan that would model state law after the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organization Act to help better prosecute drug traffickers.
    
SENTENCE ENHANCEMENTS
    
The bill increases sentences for some crimes. For example, the sentence for second-degree murder will increase from 30 years to 40 years. A life sentence could be imposed for death of a child by child abuse.

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