Re-Entry Clinic: Bringing Hope to Rehabilitated Offenders

Image: Person in orange with one hand on prison bars, showing letters spelling out H-O-P-E on their knuckles

The Re-Entry Clinic represents people who were children when they were convicted and sentenced to life in adult prisons in Maryland. Our clients have been in prison for 25 to over 50 years.

Last spring, the Clinic once again joined those who sought legislative relief for juvenile lifers in Maryland, 87% of whom are Black; and the General Assembly passed and then overrode the Governor’s veto of second chance legislation we sought. Legislative relief was needed because the parole system for lifers in Maryland provides so little opportunity for relief.

This semester, the clinic has engaged in preparing motions under the new legislation, known as the Juvenile Restoration Act. The Act, effective October 1, 2021, allows juvenile offenders who have served over 20 years in prison to seek resentencing and, hopefully, release based on the time they have served. The Act asks the courts to consider specific factors that would convince them that is safe and justice would be served by releasing each of these juvenile offenders.  The clinic has filed one of the first of such motions under the new law and plans to file more before the fall semester is complete.

These are extensive appeals for a chance at life outside of prison for people who have known little else. Their stories are compelling, and these motions may well be their only chance to prove that, despite the crimes committed, they are ready for and can be trusted to succeed in life outside of prison.