MD Considers Inmates’ “Good Time” After Murder


Last year’s murder of a Maryland woman by a violent offender who served barely half his original sentence has inspired state legislators to rethink the “good time” provisions that helped set him free, the Washington Post reports. This week, as a Senate committee weighs legislation that could lengthen prison terms, victims’ advocates will raise the case of Shawn Henderson, who left prison in April 2006, about six years after slashing the throats of two people he robbed. In April 2008, he fatally shot Lindsay Harvey and left with $40. “She should still be alive, without question,” Montgomery County Police Capt. Mitch Cunningham said of the 25-year-old woman. “She is the reason that the system must fix itself.”

The legislation addresses so-called good-time credits that inmates can accumulate for behaving, taking classes, working or learning a trade. Henderson accumulated credits at more than 15 a month, with each credit shaving a day off his sentence. Henderson also benefited from a judge’s reconsideration of his sentence, which reduced it by two years. Opponents of the legislation say good-time credits encourage inmates to behave and learn skills needed when they are released. “The purpose of incarceration is not to incapacitate persons by removing them from society for as long as possible,” the public defender’s office said, calling the credits a powerful way to get inmates to “work toward rehabilitation.”

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