Tag: prison

Despite Sentence Commutations, O’Malley Still “Tough on Crime”


Our tough-on-crime governor has granted his first ever sentence commutations for prisoners doing life for murder. Gov. Martin O’Malley has accepted the recommendations of the state’s Parole Commission in commuting the sentences of Mark Farley Grant and Tamara Settles, but the governor has discouraged the public from interpreting these commutations as a shifting of his stance, and with good reason.

Mark Farley Grant was sentenced to life in prison as a 15-year-old (now 42) for the shooting death of Michael Gough. With the key witness for the prosecution recanting his testimony in 2006, and the University of Maryland School of Law sending O’Malley a report in 2008 outlining their opinion that Grant had been framed for the murder and wrongfully convicted, a commutation (without reference to his probable innocence) in 2012 is really way too little, way too late.

Tamara Settles was convicted 27 years ago of luring a man into being robbed in which he was shot and killed by her boyfriend. The boyfriend, who pulled the trigger, has been out of jail for 19 years, while Settles has continued to serve life, due to the ineptitude of her lawyers.

These commutations are really the exceptions that prove the rule, highlighting the people who regularly pay the price for a “tough on crime” reputation. Does anyone else think this last chance for the wrongfully convicted or excessively sentenced shouldn’t be decided by an ambitious man with a political reputation to cultivate?

Honor Student in Jail! A JHU Production


Playing this weekend at Johns Hopkins, “Legion” follows the story of a teenage honor student, who happens to be in jail, while the service organization he founded is under siege. And, perhaps most interestingly, a drug dealer is in the hospital. How are all of these things connected? Come to the John Astin Theatre this weekend and find out!

“Legion,” written by award-winning playwright Nick Glossman, is produced by the Johns Hopkins University Theater and directed by James Glossman. It will feature performances by Johns Hopkins theater students and a guest appearance by John Astin.

Performances are this weekend, March 9 and 10 at 8 p.m., and March 11 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for students with ID, $13 for seniors/faculty/alumni, and $15 general admission. To reach the Box Office, call 410-516-5153 or email [email protected]



Knitting Behind Bars Helps Jessup Prisoners in More Ways Than One


When Lynn Zwerling, 67, decided she wanted to teach knitting to male prisoners in Jessup back in 2005, the wardens thought she was nuts. The men wouldn’t be interested in a traditionally feminine hobby, they argued — not to mention the fact that knitting needles looked an awful lot like weapons.

Cut to six years later, and Zwerling (plus several other volunteers) has spent the past two years teaching more than a hundred prisoners to knit — and she has a waiting list of dozens more. Prisoners have crafted comfort dolls for kids removed from their homes by social services; they’ve made hats for kids at a nearby inner-city elementary school.

The idea came about after Zwerling started a knitting club in her hometown of Columbia and ended up recruiting 500 members. “I looked around the room one day and I saw a zen quality about it,” Zwerling told GOOD magazine. “Here were people who didn’t know each other, had nothing in common, sitting together peacefully like little lambs knitting. I thought, ‘It makes me and these people feel so good. What would happen if I took knitting to a population that never experienced this before?’”

Richy Horton, 38, told Good about his experience with the knitting classes:
“I was like, I’m not going to that thing. And then I went, and you were actually speaking to real people. People can’t really understand [that in prison] you’re completely separated from anything normal or real in the world. You’re always told what to do and when to do it, so to have people come in and treat you like a human being means so much. They came in and they were like my mom.”

If you’re interested in donating money or supplies, there’s info here about the group’s needs.