TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF HB-1002
Correctional Services – Restrictive Housing – Direct Release
TO: Hon. Luke Clippinger, Chairman, Hon. Vanessa Atterbeary, Vice-Chairperson, and members of the House Judiciary Committee
FROM: Nayda Kuachusri, Jeremiah Fellow, Jews United for Justice
My name is Nayda Kuachusri and I have been a public defender for over ten years and am currently a Jeremiah Fellow with Jews United for Justice (JUFJ). JUFJ organizes thousands of Marylanders to fight for social, racial, and economic justice in our state. I write this testimony in support of House Bill 1002.
Throughout my career, I have strived to model the values that I believe in by treating each person I represent with the dignity and respect that every human deserves, regardless of the charges facing them. The psychological, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive effects of the practice of solitary confinement on those upon which it is inflicted are indisputable. HB1002 prohibits incarcerated people from being released from a term of segregation, either administrative or disciplinary, directly into the community, without providing the incarcerated person a certain transitional process and within a certain time period from release.
As an advocate for the accused for the past decade, I have had the opportunity to speak to many people who have been subjected to the conditions of solitary confinement in the form of disciplinary segregation. We have spoken about the specific issues that arise when the person attempts to transition back into the general population and recover from the psychological effects of solitary confinement. It is hard enough to transition from restrictive housing into the general prison population; it is much harder to move directly into the community. HB1002 serves to ensure that those individuals subjected to solitary confinement receive appropriate transitional services before re-entering the community, thereby increasing their subsequent success regarding rehabilitation.
For the benefit of all the individuals currently serving sentences within the state of Maryland and subjected to conditions of solitary confinement, and for the benefit of our communities as a whole, I support HB1002 and the establishment of a requisite transitional plan for affected individuals. I respectfully urge a favorable report.