LEONARDTOWN, Md. – As Senate Bill 842 appeared at the Judicial Proceedings Committee a few weeks ago, St. Mary’s residents and outside organizations continue urging lawmakers to create stricter laws against violent offenders.
“We at Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center are concerned about this bill and our Executive Director, Kurt Wolfgang, provided both written and oral testimony. We are asking our partners, other [advocacy] groups, and our community to reach out to legislators to oppose this bill,” the organization said in a newsletter.
SB 842, which is also known as the Maryland Second Look Act, gives criminals a second chance to have their sentencing reconsidered.
“All I’m asking people who are incarcerated be given a second chance, look at their record, if they didn’t create any problems in the system, they should be given a second opportunity,” Senator Joanne Benson who is the bill sponsor said.
To prevent these offenders from striking again, Benson says they plan to give criminals the proper tools to avoid falling back into their old ways.
“We want to be sure that we have the resources and mechanisms in place that will ensure they are successful once they’re given the second chance,” Senator Benson said.
However, St. Mary’s County residents are not buying it. Many mothers are struggling to cope with the loss of their children, and they do not want to see the faces of the people who murdered their children again, St. Mary’s county resident Daniello Lacey said.
“They need stricter laws. They need to stop slapping them on the wrists,” Lacey said. “I want them gone forever. We don’t want to see their faces.
Contrasting the bill, a St. Mary’s family started a petition to enforce stricter laws on violent offenders, which has made it to over 1,000 signatures.
“We want justice for Joseph, but also the other victims and their families who have suffered loss due to violent crimes,” Angela Potter said in a statement on the petition.
SB842 has yet to leave the committee and will likely not pass during the 2022 Legislative Session but could return after this election year.
To find out more or sign the petition, click here.
Also, registration has opened for National Crime Victims’ week from April 24- 30. To learn more or register for this event, click here.
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