Sunday, February 24, 2008


Governor O'Malley: Retroactively getting it done

David Broder has a column out today that notes a return of crime as a potential big issue in the upcoming election. I’m sure it’s an important topic but I couldn’t help focusing in on this little tidbit:

“To deal with this, Maryland's Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley, started requiring prisoners without high school degrees to take 120 days of classes each year, offering them small payments for their time. Attendance now averages 95 percent, and the state already has conferred 734 diplomas. David S. Broder - A Comeback For the Crime Issue

He did?

Because that sounds suspiciously like the 1996’s House Bill 1073 (marked up) which “[i]mposed mandatory education in the prisons, required funding for GED and vocational programming and ensured continuing funding. House Bill 1073 Summary of Maryland's 1996 Legislative Session

…or the mandatory education program that the Urban Institute wrote about back in 2003:

“One of the programs the MDDOC operates is a mandatory education program in compliance with Maryland state law that requires prisoners who do not possess a high school degree or GED and who have a minimum of 18 months to serve when received by the DOC to attend school while incarcerated.82 This program, which is conducted in accordance with the Education Coordinating Council for Correctional Institutions, requires eligible prisoners to participate in school at least 12 hours per week in maintaining institutions83 or 5 hours per week in prerelease system facilities for a minimum of 120 calendar days. Prisoners who meet the eligibility requirements for this program are assigned by their case manager to the appropriate class and are required to participate. If they refuse to participate or are removed from the program because of disciplinary or other problems, the consequences are severe. They lose all diminution credits accrued up to that point and are not allowed to participate in any other programs and, therefore, cannot earn any diminution credits until certain conditions, as outlined by the case manager, are met. A Portait of PrisonerReentry in Maryland: Urban Institute 2003

Indeed, the Inmate Handbook for 2007 (the year Martin O’Malley took office which means his policies weren’t yet in place) also describes a similar program:

“The Division and the State Department of Education take a strong stand on the importance of education. Persons committed to the Division after June 1, 1996 who are not high school graduates (or have not earned their GED) and have 18 months to be served must attend school successfully for 120 days. Students assigned to school under this policy receive a daily stipend. Mandatory education is a mandatory remediation program with serious consequences for non-participation.” Maryland Division of Correction 2007 Inmate Handbook

But, hey, I want to be a fair guy – I reviewed his FY 08 and FY 09 Budget submissions to see his highlighting of this dramatic, life-turning program….uhh, I'll get back to you, this could take awhile.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Broder soon credits the Governor as the coach for Maryland’s 2002 NCAA basketball championship.

Nice post. I'm sure that Broder piece will end up on O'Gov's press website.

Watch O'Gov try to target UM basketball. Gary and Ehrlich are good pals, and that cannot be allowed in "our One Maryland."

again great post.
thanks Mark - enjoy the golf...
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