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Alternative Sentencing

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NEWS
July 28, 2001
ANNE ARUNDEL County opened a second jail just 3 1/2 years ago, and already, it's almost full. There's a good reason for that and a bad one. First, the good: In those criminal cases when county judges can decide whether to send inmates to a county jail or to a state prison for relatively short sentences, they often opt for local detention. These decisions put greater demand on the county's facilities, but the cause is worthy. Offenders kept closer to home have a better chance at making successful transitions back to society with education and drug treatment.
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NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,larry.carson@baltsun.com | May 10, 2009
Howard County Council members are wondering where all the court-ordered community service "volunteers" will go. People given alcohol citations, convicted of traffic violations or disorderly conduct are sometimes ordered to clean parks or vacant lots, or help nonprofits as a condition of probation or instead of receiving points on their driving records, but county Sheriff James Fitzgerald said the program doesn't work and he wants to end it July 1....
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NEWS
By ALEC MACGILLIS and ALEC MACGILLIS,SUN REPORTER | November 3, 2005
For Jennifer McCready, the break came halfway into a 10-year prison sentence for dealing cocaine, when a judge sent her to a long-term, residential drug treatment program in Crownsville. A year later, the 30-year-old native of eastern Baltimore County is holding down a job and renting her own apartment for the first time in years. "It worked out awesome for me," she said. "There are a lot more people out there who could do the same if given the chance." But few are getting to follow in her footsteps.
NEWS
May 5, 2008
Now here's an innovative way to crack cold cases. Law and Order scriptwriters take note. During a plea agreement in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court recently, serial burglar Patrick Francis Alfaro offered to take police on a tour of all the places he had robbed - or tried to rob - in his long criminal career. It was an offer the detectives and prosecutors couldn't refuse. In return for helping police clear unsolved burglaries, Mr. Alfaro would have several years shaved off a proposed 11-year prison sentence.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | March 30, 1997
Baltimore's top judges are asking to take "administrative and fiscal" control of the Alternative Sentencing Unit, an unusual court program that recently has come under scrutiny for its hiring practices and management of criminals in the community.In a letter to Bishop L. Robinson, secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Joseph H. H. Kaplan, administrative judge of the Baltimore Circuit Court, and Mary Ellen T. Rinehardt, administrative judge of the Baltimore District Court, said such a change would enable them to make the unit "a model program on a state and federal level."
NEWS
August 17, 1997
IT WAS A GOOD IDEA when it began eight years ago and it's a good idea now. But the state should not allow an alternative probation program for higher-risk defendants to continue if it isn't going to supervise persons in the project properly.A Sun investigation earlier this year revealed deficiencies in the operation of the Alternative Sentencing Unit. Those lapses have been confirmed in an audit by state probation officials. The audit said defendants were committing new crimes while in the program and were testing positive for continued drug use.The defendants' persistent criminal activity is a result of their not being closely monitored.
NEWS
October 20, 1992
Anne Arundel County's Detention Center Siting and Alternative Sentencing Task Force isn't telling the Neall administration what it wants to hear, so the administration doesn't want to listen any more.The task force hasn't even formally presented its findings on detention center overcrowding, and Councilwoman Diane Evans, a Neall ally, has quit the panel, saying it is "flawed." County Executive Robert Neall, meanwhile, is accusing the group of "playing games." It's fairly obvious that they're trying to discredit the task force so they can oppose its recommendations when they come before the County Council.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | September 24, 1997
Lapses of supervision and missing information taint a series of cases in the city's drug treatment court, one of the state's model criminal justice programs, an internal audit has found.The Aug. 20 audit, reviewed this week by The Sun, is the latest examination of the Alternative Sentencing Unit, a Baltimore community supervision program that handles about a third of the drug treatment court cases.Problems uncovered in the reviews have led to the reassignment of Thomas E. Kirk, administrator of the 8-year-old Alternative Sentencing Unit.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | January 31, 1997
An unusual Baltimore court program to supervise criminals in the community hasn't had to look far for some of its workers -- employing the relatives and friends of the very circuit judges who sit on its personnel committee.Baltimore Circuit Judges Roger W. Brown Sr. and Mabel E. H. Hubbard sit on the committee that selects employees for the Alternative Sentencing Unit. Since 1994, the unit has hired two of Brown's children, one of Hubbard's two sons, the son's friend and the child of a top assistant to Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy.
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer | July 30, 1992
An 11-member committee appointed yesterday will take up an iissue the County Council couldn't handle last spring -- where the county should build a new jail, or even whether it should build one.The Detention Center/Alternative Sentencing Task Force will look at the county jail population, alternative sentencing methods, possible sites for a new jail considered by a consultant last spring, and the viability of the site he recommended.The group is due to report its findings by Oct. 15.But at least two members of the committee are not so sure a jail is needed, and a third says the North County site recommended by the consultant and backed by County Executive Robert R. Neall should be ruled out entirely.
NEWS
By ALEC MACGILLIS and ALEC MACGILLIS,SUN REPORTER | November 3, 2005
For Jennifer McCready, the break came halfway into a 10-year prison sentence for dealing cocaine, when a judge sent her to a long-term, residential drug treatment program in Crownsville. A year later, the 30-year-old native of eastern Baltimore County is holding down a job and renting her own apartment for the first time in years. "It worked out awesome for me," she said. "There are a lot more people out there who could do the same if given the chance." But few are getting to follow in her footsteps.
NEWS
July 28, 2001
ANNE ARUNDEL County opened a second jail just 3 1/2 years ago, and already, it's almost full. There's a good reason for that and a bad one. First, the good: In those criminal cases when county judges can decide whether to send inmates to a county jail or to a state prison for relatively short sentences, they often opt for local detention. These decisions put greater demand on the county's facilities, but the cause is worthy. Offenders kept closer to home have a better chance at making successful transitions back to society with education and drug treatment.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | October 21, 1997
Maryland's alternative-sentencing program has reduced the chance that an offender will commit a new crime by 50 percent and saved the state from having to construct a new prison, according to a report being presented to a General Assembly committee today.The report by a nonprofit criminal justice organization in Washington on the state's Correctional Options Program, which has been touted as a national model by the U.S. Department of Justice, is viewed as a key evaluation of the state's community detention programs.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | September 24, 1997
Lapses of supervision and missing information taint a series of cases in the city's drug treatment court, one of the state's model criminal justice programs, an internal audit has found.The Aug. 20 audit, reviewed this week by The Sun, is the latest examination of the Alternative Sentencing Unit, a Baltimore community supervision program that handles about a third of the drug treatment court cases.Problems uncovered in the reviews have led to the reassignment of Thomas E. Kirk, administrator of the 8-year-old Alternative Sentencing Unit.
NEWS
August 17, 1997
IT WAS A GOOD IDEA when it began eight years ago and it's a good idea now. But the state should not allow an alternative probation program for higher-risk defendants to continue if it isn't going to supervise persons in the project properly.A Sun investigation earlier this year revealed deficiencies in the operation of the Alternative Sentencing Unit. Those lapses have been confirmed in an audit by state probation officials. The audit said defendants were committing new crimes while in the program and were testing positive for continued drug use.The defendants' persistent criminal activity is a result of their not being closely monitored.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | August 15, 1997
A state audit has found that a "superintensive" Baltimore court program that supervises criminals in the community instead provided often minimal oversight, with offenders continuing to use drugs and commit crimes while in the program.The deficiencies found in the Alternative Sentencing Unit cases were so severe, wrote a top state probation official, "that one would think that none of the staff were ever certified to perform their functions."The audit followed a Sun investigation this year that identified problems in the program.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | February 21, 1997
Maryland's top prison official ordered yesterday immediate improvement in an unusual Baltimore court program that supervises criminals in the community, after a newspaper report showed some offenders were remaining in the program even after being charged with new crimes.The 8-year-old program, called the Alternative Sentencing Unit, is to be "a last-chance ranch," in the words of one judge, before a criminal goes to prison. Its ranks include child abusers, robbers and a handful of killers along with nonviolent drug addicts and thieves who are sentenced to unusually strict probation, often accompanied by mandatory drug treatment.
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | March 30, 1997
Baltimore's top judges are asking to take "administrative and fiscal" control of the Alternative Sentencing Unit, an unusual court program that recently has come under scrutiny for its hiring practices and management of criminals in the community.In a letter to Bishop L. Robinson, secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Joseph H. H. Kaplan, administrative judge of the Baltimore Circuit Court, and Mary Ellen T. Rinehardt, administrative judge of the Baltimore District Court, said such a change would enable them to make the unit "a model program on a state and federal level."
NEWS
By Kate Shatzkin and Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF | February 21, 1997
Maryland's top prison official ordered yesterday immediate improvement in an unusual Baltimore court program that supervises criminals in the community, after a newspaper report showed some offenders were remaining in the program even after being charged with new crimes.The 8-year-old program, called the Alternative Sentencing Unit, is to be "a last-chance ranch," in the words of one judge, before a criminal goes to prison. Its ranks include child abusers, robbers and a handful of killers along with nonviolent drug addicts and thieves who are sentenced to unusually strict probation, often accompanied by mandatory drug treatment.
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