O'Malley's tally: Zero lifers released on parole 

“The system is broken.” That’s the new mantra making its way around the country.

You’ve heard it a couple of dozen times if you’ve heard it once, haven’t you? Our immigration system - the one that has allowed America to achieve unprecedented ethnic, racial and religious diversity by those who legally immigrate here - is supposedly broken.

Justin Hudson, who received a fine education at New York City’s elite Hunter College High School, laments that the public school system is “broken” because some students flunk and drop out. Some critics claim our criminal justice system is “broken” because there are “too many” black men in prison.

Maryland’s parole system is also broken, according to the editorial board of the Baltimore Sun. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a recent editorial argues, should be taken out of the loop when it comes to the parole of prisoners.“With 50 recommendations on O’Malley’s desk, the system is clearly broken,” reads the editorial’s headline.

In the body of the editorial,  readers are treated to this: “The Maryland Parole Commission has sent 50 recommendations to the governor – seven for parole of lifers, and 43 for commutations of sentences to terms that would allow for release because of good-time credits. Not only has Mr. O’Malley not granted any, he hasn’t even responded to a single one.”

So let me see if I interpret this correctly: because O’Malley, for whatever reason, has opted to chump out when it comes to paroling prisoners or commuting their sentences, then it’s the SYSTEM that’s broken?

What seems to be broken here is the backbone of some of our elected officials.  When President Obama declares that our immigration system is “broken,” what he really means is: “I don’t have the backbone to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, even though as chief executive of the United States of America that’s one of the things to which my oath of office binds me.”

O’Malley probably has his eye on other political offices, such as U.S. senator from Maryland, vice president or perhaps even president. He’s probably being cautious, but sometimes being cautious leads to a loss of backbone. The Baltimore Sun editorial gave the figures for O’Malley’s predecessors who had paroled prisoners with life sentences:

1.  Gov. Marvin Mandel: 92

2.  Gov. Harry Hughes: 64

3.  Gov. William Donald Schaefer: 36

4.  Gov. Parris Glendening: six

5.  Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich: six

The tally for O’Malley? Zero.

Maybe by the next time the Maryland Parole Commission sends its recommendations O’Malley’s way, he’ll have found his backbone.

About The Author

Gregory Kane


Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.

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