The Maryland Second Chance Act

1163 WordsMar 6, 20175 Pages
To: Stephen Moyer, Secretary – Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Power Inside; Alvin Gillard, Executive Director – State of Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; Meg Ward, Executive Director – Patrick Allison House From: Rachel Harman, Social Work Intern Date: February 15, 2017 Subject: Here’s to Second Chances: Extend the Maryland Second Chance Act to Housing, Not Just Employment The 2015 Maryland Second Chance Act: “For Employers Only” The Maryland Second Chance Act is a relatively new piece of legislation that authorizes persons to petition the courts to “shield” conviction records for nonviolent misdemeanors (possession of a controlled substance, prostitution, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, etc.) from…show more content…
In Maryland, public assistance programs as well as housing programs are able to deny assistance to individuals with incarceration histories or convictions on their records. “The Corporation for Supportive Housing estimates that 10 to 12 percent of former inmates are homeless. Other studies put the count at between 15 and 27 percent” (Law). With such a large percentage of inmates being released to the streets, it is no wonder that rates of recidivism are so high. Marylanders need to push for the Second Chance Act to apply to housing, and not solely to employment opportunities. Who is impacted? After a three-to-five year waiting period, the Maryland Second Chance Act shields conviction records of individuals with nonviolent misdemeanors. The crimes that are shielded as written in the bill are as follows: (1)DISORDERLY CONDUCT (2) DISTURBING THE PEACE (3) FAILURE TO OBEY A REASONABLE AND LAWFUL ORDER (4) MALICIOUS DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY IN THE LESSER DEGREE [under $500 damage] (5) TRESPASS ON POSTED PROPERTY (6) POSSESSING OR ADMINISTERING A CONTROLLED DANGEROUS SUBSTANCE (7) POSSESSING OR ADMINISTERING A NONCONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (8) USE OF OR POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO USE DRUG PARAPHERNALIA (9) DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE (10) DRIVING WHILE PRIVILEGE IS CANCELED, SUSPENDED, REFUSED, OR REVOKED (11) DRIVING WHILE UNINSURED UNDER (12) A PROSTITUTION OFFENSE IF THE CONVICTION IS FOR PROSTITUTION AND NOT ASSIGNATION. Depending on the crime,
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