Largo, MD – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) hosted a roundtable on criminal justice March 28 reform to hear from Fifth District law enforcement officials, advocates, and community stakeholders who are working on criminal justice system issues in Maryland.

“I want to thank reform advocates and law enforcement officials in Maryland for joining me at a critically important roundtable to discuss a matter that Congress must address: comprehensive criminal justice reform,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer. “Today, over two million Americans, some only teenagers, are serving time in federal or state prisons.  Many of these prisoners are people of color who have committed relatively low-level offenses and, because of inflexible federal or state sentencing guidelines and poor legal representation, are serving sentences that any objective observer would say are disproportionate to the crimes they committed.”

“The flaws in our criminal justice system are also very costly to taxpayers,” continued Congressman Hoyer. “The system is too focused on punishment and not enough on rehabilitation, with high recidivism rates as a side-effect. Recently, the House and Senate have been engaged in a bipartisan effort to make our federal criminal justice laws more rational, and so far the process has been mostly positive. We must ensure that our system of justice protects law-abiding citizens, assigns a just punishment to those who have done wrong, and provides a real chance for people who have made mistakes to make something of themselves after they have paid their debt to society.”

The guest speakers at today’s roundtable were Delegate Erek Barron, District 24 and a member of the Maryland Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council; Judge Alexander Williams, retired U.S. Federal district judge; Tiffany Waddell,  Director of Federal Relations, Maryland Governor’s office; Bob Ross, President, Prince George’s County NAACP; Michele Harewood, senior trial attorney, Office of the Public Defender for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties; and Deputy Chief of Police Pamela Davis, Anne Arundel County Police Department.