Juvenile Justice Project student-attorney Karilyn Lee testified yesterday before Maryland’s House Judiciary Committee in support of legislation to reform the parole process.
House Bill 846 would remove the governor from the parole process for individuals serving life terms.
While the U.S. Supreme Court, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, held in 2016 that people who committed crimes as juveniles are entitled to a “meaningful opportunity for release,” the situation in Maryland is complicated by the fact that the governor must approve parole for anyone serving a life sentence, including those who committed crimes as children. According to Laurence M. Katz Professor of Law Jane Murphy, director of UB’s Juvenile Justice Project, only two prisoners serving life with parole sentences in Maryland prisons actually have been paroled since 1995.
Maryland is one of three states, with California and Oklahoma, that require the governor’s signature to grant parole.