“When you set [a person] free, do not let them go empty-handed: Furnish them out of the flock, threshing floor, and vat, with which your God has blessed you. Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and your God redeemed you; therefore I enjoin this commandment upon you today.”
– Deuteronomy 15:12-15
JUFJ is guided by the Jewish value of Tzelem Elohim, that all people are created in the divine image, with inherent and equal dignity and value. All people should be treated with dignity and respect, whether they have been incarcerated or not. People who have been incarcerated face marginalization, perpetual punishment, and barriers to housing and employment, especially Black and brown people who are unjustly targeted because of their race. We need to prevent unjust incarceration and support Marylanders to successfully return from incarceration into the rest of society.
The People: Returning citizens, their families, their communities, and everyone who faces undue social and financial hardship as a result of their contact with the Maryland criminal justice system. Our racist justice system disproportionately targets Black and Brown people.
- Women’s Prerelease Facilities:
- Prerelease programs help people nearing the end of their prison sentences to secure employment, housing, drug treatment and mental health services, and family support. Maryland has five of these facilities for men and none for women.
- All of the following legislation is sponsored by Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield (Montgomery County) and Senator Mary Washington (Baltimore City):
- Requirement to Operate – SB682 (JPR)/HB608 (JUD): mandate the operation of a prerelease unit for women.
- Women’s Prerelease Equity Act – SB683 (JPR)/HB828 (JUD): define a prerelease unit as a stand-alone center located in or adjacent to the zip code to which the largest number of women are returning.
- Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act – SB684 (JPR)/HB801 (JUD): define prerelease programming as gender-responsive, trauma-informed, providing college-level or vocational certifications, family reunification, and other therapeutic programming.
- Incarcerated Voting Rights – SB372 (EHE & JPR)/HB568 (W&M):
- All eligible Marylanders should have a vote in elections, but some incarcerated people are being denied their vote.
- This bill would require the board of elections to go into jails and prisons to supply voter registration forms, absentee ballots, and vote information. It would also provide enhanced training and educational materials to probation and parole officers about voting rights of returning citizens.
- SB372 is sponsored by Senator Chris West (Baltimore County) and HB568 is sponsored by Delegate Nick Mosby (Baltimore City).
- Child Interrogation Protection Act – SB593 (JPR)/HB624 (JUD)
- Currently, police officers in Maryland have little limiting their right to interrogate children, which puts those minors in compromising situations.
- This legislation would require that kids have access to a lawyer before police can interrogate them.
- HB624 is sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman (Baltimore City), and SB593 is sponsored by Senator Jill Carter (Baltimore City).
- Wrongful Conviction Compensation – SB797 (JPR):
- When people are wrongfully convicted and incarcerated, they should be compensated.
- This legislation would provide guidance for the state regarding the level of financial reparation.
- SB797 is sponsored by Senator Delores Kelley (Baltimore County).
There are no upcoming events at this time.