CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland, 410-889-8555; 

Melissa Goemann, ACLU Legislative Director, 410-693-4877; 

ANNAPOLIS - On March 1, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland will testify to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of legislation to eliminate the need for gubernatorial approval of parole decisions involving individuals who were sentenced to life in prison as juveniles and individuals who were not principals in a homicide offense; legislation to extend earned compliance credits for those on parole and probation; and legislation mandating that juveniles being tried as adults be held in juvenile facilities. 

Read stories of Maryland individuals serving life sentences who were charged as juveniles, from the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative. 

Statement of Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director of ACLU of Maryland: "We see growing support for criminal and juvenile justice reforms that will significantly reduce the fiscal burdens of excessive incarceration without compromising public safety. Right now, Maryland has a real opportunity to re-prioritize our criminal justice system so that the highest - and most expensive - level of confinement or supervision is used on those who truly present the greatest threat to public safety, rather than those who have been rehabilitated and can safely be released into the community."

At 11 AM, there also will be a rally in support of SB 492 and SB 584, the juvenile lifer bill, organized by the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative. The rally will be held at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis, MD.  

WHAT: Hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of the following bills:
SB 492 - Inmates - Life Imprisonment - Parole Approval - Felony Murder AccompliceSB 584 - Inmates - Life Imprisonment - Parole ApprovalSB 691 - Earned Compliance Credit and Reinvestment Act of 2012SB 761 - Juveniles - Confinement in Juvenile Facilities

WHO:  Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director, ACLU of Maryland. Walter Lomax, Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative; Both advocates will be available for media interviews.

WHEN: Thursday, March 1, 2012; hearing begins at 1 PM. 

WHERE: Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, Miller Senate Office Building entrance, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD