After Prison, New Debt

A monthly fee charged to Maryland parolees often grows to a burdensome debt that hinders their attempts to build a life after prison and runs counter to the mission of the parole program, according to a study that will be released this week....

March 23, 2009

The Balitmore Sun reports:   "A monthly fee charged to Maryland parolees often grows to a burdensome
debt that hinders their attempts to build a life after prison and runs
counter to the mission of the parole program, according to a study that
will be released this week.

More than 80 percent of parolees do not pay the state parole
supervision fee on time and some consider committing crimes to pay the
fee, which amounts to an average of $750, according to the Brennan
Center for Justice at the New York University
Law School. The report recommends that the state abandon the fee or
streamline the process for financially strapped parolees to apply for
an exemption.

"The population of people on parole is more or less indigent," said
Rebekah Diller, the study's principal author. "They're struggling at
the most basic level to find housing and to find a job. The people we
interviewed talked about the fact that this was yet another source of
pressure. They felt like they were behind before they even started
their lives after prison."

But advocates for lower taxes said it only seems fair that parolees
should shoulder some of the costs of the services that they receive."

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