In the state of Maryland, requests for compassionate release are denied approximately three times as often as they are granted. This reality largely stems from the harsh restrictions that current state law places on when compassionate release is allowable and when it is not.
Because current Maryland law is being – very justifiably – criticized by high-profile sources, the state legislature is finally considering reform to existing compassionate release policies.
What’s happening now
At present, an individual’s request for compassionate release will be denied unless they are “so chronically debilitated or incapacitated” by a medical condition that they are “physically incapable of presenting a danger to society.” This means that even if someone is no longer considered to be a danger to society due to reform they’ve embraced while incarcerated, they still won’t qualify for medical parole until they – essentially – can no longer do anything but lie in bed.
The law being considered by state legislators would – in addition to cutting costs for Maryland taxpayers – be far more humane than the current standards allow. Specifically, it would require parole commissioners to “consider the age of an inmate when determining whether to grant parole; alter how the Commission evaluates a request for medical parole; and require the Commission to develop (consistent) procedures for assessing parole requests by certain inmates.”
There is no question that it’s important to understand your rights and options when defending against criminal charges. However, it is also important to understand your legal rights and options if you have a criminal record. Individual rights and opportunities to mitigate the severity of the consequences that a conviction inspires don’t evaporate once a sentence has been determined.
As a result, seeking legal guidance can be helpful even if your criminal case was long ago decided in ways that were unfavorable for you. From expungement to compassionate release, there may yet be ways to make your future brighter despite a criminal conviction in your past.