Support the Maryland Second Look Act (SB 123/HB 724)


Maryland legislators must pass the Second Look Act. It would also ensure that people who have transformed, over decades in prison, can have the opportunity to come home and positively contribute to their communities.

Maryland incarcerates the highest percentage of Black people in the country, 71 percent of our prison population, more than twice the national average.
Shamefully, Maryland also leads the nation in sentencing young Black men to the longest
prison terms, at a rate 25 percent higher than the next nearest state, Mississippi. Bias against Black and Brown people and people with low income has been widely documented at every stage in Maryland’s
criminal legal system, from racial profiling by police, to arresting, to sentencing.

The only way to reduce existing racial disparities is to create more meaningful avenues for release for Marylanders who have demonstrated their rehabilitation.
The Maryland Second Look Act would allow people with extreme sentences who have served at least two decades the opportunity to petition the court to modify or reduce their sentence based on their demonstrated rehabilitation. This evidence-based initiative recognizes the transformative potential of focusing on rehabilitation and the urgency of addressing racial justice in our criminal legal system. According to the 2022 National Survey of Victims’ Views, victims prefer by 2 to 1 that the criminal legal system focus more on rehabilitating people who commit crimes rather than punishing them.
A “Second Look” provision would ensure that people are able to express their genuine remorse and maintain focus on their transformation without worrying that conceding guilt would eliminate any hope of resentencing.

For Marylanders who have grappled with past mistakes, this bill extends a lifeline – a chance to showcase their personal growth and rehabilitation throughout their time behind bars. It represents hope
to the disproportionately Black families who have been the “collateral damage” of our current broken system. And it sends a powerful message: that the state is actively acknowledging and rectifying past
instances of bias and committing to equitable treatment for all those in its custody.

Visit to learn more.