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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

University of Maryland School of Law Holds Congressional Field Hearing on Alternatives to Incarceration for Drugs

At the invitation of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a U.S. House of Representatives' subcommittee held a congressional field hearing Oct. 1 at the Ceremonial Moot Courtroom at the University of Maryland School of Law to evaluate practical alternatives to incarceration to prevent drug use and drug-related violence.

Cummings, a graduate of the School of Law, welcomed the standing-room-only crowd to the hearing. He said he was glad to see "the strong concern that residents have for the safety of their communities."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, (D-Ohio), chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, swore in the panelists. They included Rita Fayall, program coordinator of the Meet-Me-Halfway Mentoring Program; Sheryl Goldstein, JD, director of the Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice; Ellen Heller, JD '77, administrative judge of the Circuit Court of Baltimore City; and Joshua Sharfstein, MD, Baltimore City Health Department commissioner.

The panelists explained how multiple services are working together with at-risk juveniles and young adults, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, and housing. They also described how drug courts, problem-solving courts, and coordinated community outreach to at-risk individuals and low-level offenders can impact crime levels. [Mark Godsey]

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