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JRI Year: 2016



In 2015, then-Governor Larry Hogan and legislative leaders established the Maryland Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council (JRCC). The JRCC, with technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Crime and Justice Institute, was tasked with developing recommendations to safely reduce Maryland’s incarcerated population, control corrections spending, and reinvest in more effective and less expensive strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism. The JRCC found that a high proportion of people admitted to prison were sentenced for nonviolent crimes.1 In addition, 60 percent of the 2016 corrections budget went to correctional institutions, while only 7 percent went to community supervision.2 The JRCC submitted a report with findings and recommendations to Governor Hogan and the General Assembly.


The JRCC recommendations included a restructuring of penalties for drug possession and eliminated mandatory minimum sentences for most drug offenses, increased use of residential drug treatment beds, eliminated the disparity between crack and powder cocaine penalties, and raised the threshold for felony theft and lowered the sentence for first misdemeanor property convictions.3 Legislation advancing these recommendations—Senate Bill (SB) 1005—passed and was then signed into law by Governor Hogan in May 2016. To realize the goals of the legislation, Maryland implemented several policy and practice changes across state agencies.


Maryland’s policy changes improved release policies and reentry practices in the state, which resulted in a 5 percent decrease in the prison population from 2016 to 2022.4 Additionally, the state’s detention population also declined 14 percent between 2017 and 2019. By 2019, the Department of Health had significantly decreased their wait times for treatment (from 167 days to approximately 10 days—a 94 percent reduction in wait time).5

For more information, see Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI): Maryland.

JRI-Driven Policies and Practices

  • Establish/review presentence assessment
  • Reclassify/redefine drug offenses
  • Reclassify/redefine property offenses
  • Revise mandatory minimums
  • Reduce collateral consequences associated with conviction
  • Reduce crack/powder cocaine disparity
  • Revise parole hearings/decision/eligibility standards
  • Expand good-time/earned-time prison credits/reentry leave
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Establish/expand geriatric or medical parole
  • Establish/expand presumptive parole for qualifying cases
  • Establish/expand earned discharge (probation/parole)
  • Authorize performance incentive funding
  • Authorize/develop/modify graduated responses or matrices for violations
  • Cap revocation time
  • Require/improve risk-needs assessment
  • Require evidence-based practices
  • Improve restitution/victim notification
  • Establish/extend oversight council
  • Require data collection/performance measures

1 Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, 2015, Final Report, Annapolis, MD: Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, retrieved May 19, 2023 from

2 Ibid., 11.

3 Ibid., 14, 15, 18.

4 Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, DOC Data Dashboard, retrieved May 16, 2023 from

5 Maryland Department of Health, 2019, HG §8-505 & HG §8-507 Title 3 Mental Health, retrieved June 2, 2023 from

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