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Governor Announces Review of Barriers to Re-Entry

December 16th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

Governor Larry Hogan today announced a multi-agency initiative, led by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, to conduct an extensive review of the legal and regulatory barriers that individuals with a criminal record face when re-entering the community after time in prison.

In addition to criminal penalties that may be imposed at sentencing, there are many legal and regulatory penalties, sanctions, and restrictions—commonly known as collateral consequences—that are distinct from the direct consequences imposed as part of the court’s judgment at sentencing. For example, those with a criminal record may lose their professional or occupational licenses. They may have difficulty getting a job, starting a business, accessing public services and programs such as student loans and housing, or volunteering in the community. While these consequences are often discussed within the context of re-entry from incarceration, they can also affect those who serve no prison time.

“These consequences have a lasting impact, making it more difficult for ex-offenders to re-enter society, find a job, and fully engage in the community,” said Governor Hogan. “We took an important step to expand employment opportunities with the Second Chance Act, but there are continued obstacles to re-entry that demand a thorough review.”

“I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders across Maryland to determine whether certain restrictions on ex-offenders can be more narrowly tailored or eliminated altogether without jeopardizing public safety,” said Christopher B. Shank, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention.

According to the American Bar Association’s National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction, there are over 1,000 collateral consequences associated with various criminal convictions in Maryland.

Many ex-offenders are unable to get a job or start a business, preventing them from leveraging entrepreneurial talents or vocational skills. The Second Chance Act, signed by Governor Hogan and effective October 1, 2015, works to address this issue by allowing individuals convicted of certain nonviolent crimes to petition the court to shield their record three years after satisfying any mandatory supervisory obligations. Continuing to tackle the negative effects a criminal record has on employment will expand economic opportunity across the State.

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