Civil Rights Organization Urges Governor to Grant Parole, Re-Entry Support for Hundreds Others Eligible for Consideration
(BALTIMORE, MD., 11/24/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed news that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has granted parole to three Marylanders sentenced to life in prison for offenses committed as juveniles, and strongly encouraged the administration to also consider the cases of hundreds others who are eligible.
SEE: Larry Hogan grants parole to juvenile lifers, the first time a Maryland governor has done so in decades
The move is the first in nearly 25 years by a Maryland Governor. It comes after a national movement to reassess cruel and harsh sentencing for offensives committed by prisoners as juveniles, as well as a 2016 lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of life-without-parole sentences for youths charged as adults.
SEE: Judge hears arguments in federal lawsuit on juvenile life sentences
“Governor Hogan has the exclusive authority to determine the fate of hundreds of Marylanders who’ve been wronged by the criminal justice system and written off by society,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “Many of them have worked hard to correct the mistakes they made in their youth, and to turn their lives around. We urge him to build on this positive development, and to continue to constructively impact more lives by granting parole to all those who are eligible in our state.”
The civil rights organization is also urging Governor Hogan to ensure that appropriate and comprehensive re-entry services are provided to help new parolees transition into a successful, productive life.
“The Caucus of African American Leaders commends Governor Hogan for giving hope to these young offenders,” said Caucus President Carl Snowden. “Where there is hope, justice is not far behind.”
“This is a step in the right direction towards Maryland joining the twenty other states and the District of Columbia that do not have any prisoners serving life without parole for crimes committed as juveniles,” said 1199SEIU Political Director Ricarra Jones. “We urge Maryland leaders to close the door on sentences that don’t offer rehabilitation and second chances for juveniles.”
According to the Juvenile Law Center, the United States is the only country in the world that permits youth to be sentenced to life without parole, punishment that is condemned by international law. This cruel and inhumane treatment defies “research confirming that youth are different than adults and must be treated differently by our justice system.”
Since 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several decisions against excessively harsh adult sentences for youth. It banned the juvenile death penalty in Roper v. Simmons; banned ‘life without parole’ sentences for youth convicted of non-homicide crimes in Graham v. Florida ; and prohibited mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide in Miller v. Alabama.
After deliberating past scientific research, the Court concluded that children and teens who engage in criminal misconduct are less culpable for their behavior than adults because of their “developmental immaturity, impetuousness, and susceptibility to negative peer influences.” It posited that they have a greater capacity to improve their life
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.