Re-Entry Clinic Students Testify In favor of independent oversight for Maryland Department of Corrections
On Wednesday, February 8th, 2023, AUWCL Re-Entry Clinic (REC) Student Attorneys Dahlia Inabinett and Sarah Farrell testified before the the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee urging for independent oversight for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (Department of Corrections). This is the third year that a bill has been introduced seeking the establishment of a Correctional Ombudsman office in the Office of the Attorney General - SB 0087.
The REC represents men and women housed in prison for decades, most of whom were sentenced when they were juveniles, and advocates for their release in Maryland circuit courts and before the Maryland Parole Commission. The REC, under the leadership of Professor Olinda Moyd, expanded its work in 2022-2023 to include legislative advocacy with respect to Department of Corrections oversight because student attorneys have heard many stories from clients and their families about the ineffectiveness of the current prison grievance process and the failure of the Department to address issues before they become systemic.
Inabinett and Farrell submitted written testimony on behalf of the clinic and were powerful in their two-minute oral presentations before the committee. Farrell demonstrated that the current prison grievance process is lengthy and exhaustive, yet offers little and often no relief. Inabinett referenced recent documented cases of misconduct and abuse by prison staff and called the Department out on being more punitive than rehabilitative. They made the Clinic and all of WCL proud. The bill's sponsors and Committee Chairman Will Smith commented on their informative and dynamic presentations.
View the students' testimony at 2:43:42 (Farrell) and 2:53:05 (Inabinett).