A monthly fee charged to Maryland parolees often grows to a burdensome debt that hinders their attempts to build a life after prison and runs counter to the mission of the parole program, says a study reported by the Baltimore Sun. More than 80 percent of parolees do not pay the state parole supervision fee on time and some consider committing crimes to pay the fee, which amounts to an average of $750, says New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice. The report recommends that the state abandon the fee or streamline the process for financially strapped parolees to apply for an exemption.
“The population of people on parole is more or less indigent,” said Rebekah Diller, the study’s principal author. “They’re struggling at the most basic level to find housing and to find a job. The people we interviewed talked about the fact that this was yet another source of pressure. They felt like they were behind before they even started their lives after prison.” Advocates for lower taxes said it only seems fair that parolees should shoulder some of the costs of the services that they receive.