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SUPPORT THE MARYLAND SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2014

Increase opportunities for stable employment, lower recidivism rates and improve public safety

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THE CHALLENGE Jobs are the key to economic recovery, and crucial to the successful reentry of those returning to society from incarceration. A criminal record should not equate to a lifetime of poverty. A healthy economy can’t sustain a large and growing population of unemployable workers, especially in communities already hard hit by joblessness. Maryland can ease social and economic burdens on families and communities by ensuring that people who paid their debt to society are able to live and work productively. THE FACTS One in four adults has a criminal record. One prominent researcher found that a criminal record reduces the likelihood of a job callback or offer by nearly 50 percent. The effect is even more pronounced for African American men. A 2009 study funded by the National Institute of Justice found that former offender’s risk of recidivating decreased significantly as time expired with no new offense. In fact, after several years of a “clean record”, former offenders are no more likely to commit a crime than a person with no criminal background. Studies show that providing stable employment lowers crime recidivism rates and improves public safety. Twenty-eight states have policies that limit public access to certain criminal records in order to mitigate collateral consequences. THE SOLUTION: SHIELD NONVIOLENT MISDEMEANOR CONVICTIONS The Maryland Second Chance Act of 2014 would allow individuals to petition the court to shield the following nonviolent misdemeanor convictions three years after satisfying any mandatory supervisory obligations:
o o o o o o o o o o Disorderly Conduct Disturbing the Peace Failure to Obey a Reasonable and Lawful Order Malicious Destruction of Property Under $500 Trespass: Posted Property Obtaining Property or Services with Bad Check – Under $500 Misdemeanor Theft under $1,000 Possession: CDS Driving without a license; while privilege is canceled, suspended, revoked, or refused; while uninsured Prostitution

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Theft convictions are subject to a 5-year waiting period. Shielded records would remain fully accessible to law enforcement and the court system. Employers and entities with a statutory and/or contractual requirement to inquire into a candidate’s criminal background will have full access to shielded records, including those required to access criminal background information under Maryland’s Family Law Article. If a subsequent conviction occurs during the waiting period, the initial offense cannot be shielded until the subsequent offense becomes eligible for shielding.

For more information, please contact: Caryn York / caryn@jotf.org / 443-986-7532

“The sentence they were given, it wasn’t to punish them for the rest of their lives.” State Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R), Pennsylvania