MD Law Gives Incentive for Non-Violent Offenders
WHAG-TV - Online

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FREDERICK, MD - Tuesday is the first day of 2013, and that means several Maryland laws went into effect. One of them gives an incentive for offenders to stay on the right track.

Delegate Michael Hough and Senator Chris Shank co-sponsored a new law giving people on parole or probation for non-violent crimes credits for good behavior.

"I think it's a major reform, and I'm proud of that bill. It's actually one of the times where politicians got together, and we put together something which was a good piece of bipartisan legislation," said Hough, (R) - Frederick and Washington Counties.

Hough hopes the new law will encourage non-violent offenders to stay out of trouble become a productive member of society.

"You're going to have people who have alcohol addiction, drug addictions, and you're giving them a positive incentive to stay off drugs and alcohol," Hough said. "You're saying to them if you do all the right things, we'll get you off parole and probation. You'll earn credits every month, but you've got to stay clean and drug free every month."

The law got two thumbs up from police.

"I think overall it's a good idea. It's basically just an extension of good time credits that inmates can earn when they're incarcerated. It just extends that into parole and probation," said Sgt. Bruce DeGrange, with the Frederick City Police Department.

Hough says each probation and parole officer in Maryland has to handle about 100 offenders.

"It's going to help them with the case loads. They'll be able to focus on the offenders that need to be supervised closely, and offenders that have been doing well, they can put them in a status where they don't have to be supervised," said Mary Rolle, a former parole and probation officer.

About 70,000 people are on parole or probation in Maryland.