Inspired by killing of Baltimore CEO, officials advance bill to bar early-release credits for sex offenders

A bill pending before the Maryland General Assembly seeks to preclude people of convicted of certain sex crimes from receiving diminution, or good time, credits that allow them to reduce their prison sentences.

Inspired by the killing of Baltimore entrepreneur Pava LaPere, House Bill 301 would prohibit people serving sentences for first-degree rape or first-degree sex offense from accruing credits behind bars to reduce their sentences. Del. Elizabeth Embry, a Democrat representing Baltimore, sponsored the legislation, dubbing it the Pava Marie LaPere Act, after the young tech CEO allegedly killed by a man who was released early thanks to so-called “dim credits.”

“It’s about discretion,” said Embry, a former prosecutor, at a news conference Tuesday at the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office. “It means that a person who has committed the most serious acts of sexual violence in our system — first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense — can only be released if the parole commission agrees.”

Embry’s bill would make it so people convicted of the specified sex offenses can be released only if granted parole by the Maryland Parole Commission not by accruing good time credits calculated by the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Unlike the diminution credit calculation, the parole commission considers an inmate’s background, criminal record and provides victims or their families an opportunity to speak before deciding on parole.