Maryland Women's Pre-Release Center

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Support for a women's pre-release center is led by Out for Justice, the ACLU of Maryland, Job Opportunities Task Force, Maryland Justice Project, and Life After Release.


What does "pre-release" mean?

"Pre-release" is the lowest possible security level, assigned to individuals with good behavior and who present the least risk of violence or escape.

What happens when you're on pre-release?

Individuals on pre-release status can participate in work-release, meaning they can start working in jobs that are based outside the facility. With a separate facility, folks can access community resources, comprehensive re-entry planning assistance, and reconnect with their family and loved ones in a less restrictive and safe environment.

Is there a need for a separate building for women on pre-release?

Absolutely yes! There are currently over 150 women with pre-release or minimum security status that are housed at MCI-W [Maryland Correctional Institute for Women]. These women consistently express fear for their safety, as they are co-housed with women on maximum security status that would likely assault them to deter their exit, as the inmate assault rate at MCI-W is 1 in 16, as opposed to 1 in 25 at the men's separate pre-release facilities. 

Isn't it cheaper to keep pre-release status women at MCI-W?

In 2009, the only pre-release facility for women was shut down as a cost containment action. According to a 2018 Maryland Department of Corrections Annual Report, the per-capita cost for housing a woman at MCI-W is over $13,000 more per year than the cost of housing a man at a pre-release facility.

How much of an impact would a separate pre-release facility make for women?

Maryland's incarcerated women serve an average of 4 years to a man's 6.8 years, they are 2x as likely to be incarcerated for a non-violent conviction, 75% of women are primary caretakers of children, and women are 3x more likely than men to head a single parent household. By building a separate pre-release center, we support our women in returning home as best prepared as possible, not just for themselves but for their families that depend on their strength and support.

The Taskforce on Re-Entry's 2011 report emphasized the importance of supporting individuals in creating a comprehensive reentry plan and relocating them to a separate facility several months prior to their release "where they would be closer to family and community resources that can provide them with important assistance."

How is Maryland prepared to have a women's pre-release facility?

Senator Mary Washington, Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield, and over 70 members of the general assembly have sponsored two bills cross-filed in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates:

SB821/HB710 refines the definition of a pre-release unit to specify that it's a separate structure with security features tailored to incarcerated individuals who present the least risk of violence and escape & have a satisfactory behavioral record.

SB419/HB715 requires instead of "authorizes" the Commissioner of Correction to operate a pre-release unit for women.

How Can I Support?

Email our allies at Out for Justice!

Contact for more information about how to become a sponsor or share a testimony.

Support an upcoming hearing!

Check out our Upcoming Events tab for our calendar! The Senate hearing for the Pre-Release Center for Women is Thursday, February 21 at 12 PM and the House of Delegates hearing on Tuesday, February 26 at 1 PM. Having individual and organizational supporters present and sending verbal or written testimonies are critical to support the passing of these bills.

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Source: Out for Justice, Women's Pre-Release pamphlet and fact sheet