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MCI-H Lifers’ Group Holds Conference Featuring Victims and Legal Advocates

(November 9, 2012) --- More than 115 men serving life sentences organized a conference at the Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown (MCIH) this week, an event designed to bring together victims, attorneys, religious groups, and others with an interest in the rehabilitation of long-term inmates. The daylong event, attended by the warden and his administration, was put together by lifers along with the Case Management supervisor who is the lifers’ liaison. More than two dozen outside speakers, including a state senator and several attorneys and religious groups, were in attendance.

photo1Nearly 2,500 men and women are serving sentences of life or life with some portion suspended in Maryland state prisons. Many hold jobs, work with the prison administration on restorative justice opportunities and have become productive role models within their institutions.

The MCI-H Lifer’s Conference, as it was called, featured several high-profile crime victims who have come into Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) prisons many times to support rehabilitation programs despite the horrific nature of the crimes committed against them or their loved ones. Two who attended the MCI-H event were Lisa Spicknall of MADD, whose children were killed by her abusive husband, and Madeline Coxson, a DPSCS employee and ordained minister, whose elderly mother was killed by a woman during a robbery for drug money. Both women spoke emotionally in support of men who truly want to change being given the opportunity do so.

Many DPSCS prisons have lifers’ programs and groups, which hold walk-a-thons and other fundraising events for crime victims and other charitable causes. MCI-H and the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown have victims’ trees, planted three years ago by lifers and victims. Lifer inmates at facilities in all regions of the state produce newsletters, arrange legal seminars, and host Victims’ Rights Week events.