Sen. James Brochin and Baltimore County State's Attorney
Messrs. Brochin and Shellenberger imply that by ending life-without-parole sentences for children the state would renege on promises made to citizens when it abolished the death penalty in 2013. In fact, Maryland prohibited the death penalty for minors in 1987, almost two decades before the
Science and personal experience tell us that children are still developing and have a unique capacity for change. I know this from my 56 years in criminal justice, including currently as an adjunct professor at Towson University. We also know that individuals paroled from life sentences have the lowest re-offense rates. Maryland should not remain a minority internationally by discarding children for life.
As the former director of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, I know too well the horrible crimes both children and adults commit. Rather than using victims as political tools, we should care for them by providing services that support their healing.