Maryland legislators concerned about COVID-19 conditions in corrections system

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — With COVID-19 posing a challenge for those in charge of Maryland’s prisons and jails, some state legislators are proposing the release of inmates who are least likely to re-offend.

State Senator Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) is heading a “working group” to address conditions that lead to infection and says early release with supervision may be the best solution. But the head of a Maryland organization which helps “mainstream’ inmates after their release says they need to partner with former offenders who have successfully made the transition.

“We don’t use any ex-inmates who have a ton of knowledge,” says Bill Gaertner, head of Gatekeepers, “so there’s a lot of human capital that’s locked up.”

And Senator Carter says the state corrections system should regard the coronavirus in its institutions as a public health crisis.

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