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Removing Maryland’s Governor From The Parole Process

Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan opposes a bill which takes parole decisions for life-sentenced inmates away from the Governor and places it in the hands of the parole board.

Inmates in Maryland convicted of life sentences with the possibility of parole had the understanding – along with the judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors – that they would one day have the opportunity for release if the served substantial amount of time and no longer pose a danger to society. More than 2,500 Maryland inmates serve life sentences are now eligible for parole and because of decades long reluctance of Maryland's governors this group continues to grow with very few paroled.

In 47 states, the state's parole commission has the final word on paroles, not the governor. Only Maryland, Oklahoma and California require the governor's consent. Legislatures are trying to change this in Maryland.

Some people argue that the current situation provides greater accountability because it puts the final decision in the hands of one elected individual. However, opponents argue that politics influence the governor's decisions parole and that Maryland should join all the other states in taking the governor out of the parole process.

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