There are two separate questions involved here. Can an offender be released early, and if so, when does the potential for that commence? Like many aspects of the correctional system, parole is a process, not an event. There are a variety of factors, and stages to consider. The first is eligibility. Maryland law provides that an inmate is generally eligible for parole, if:
- They have been sentenced to 6 months or more in a correctional facility, and
- They have served in confinement one-fourth of their aggregate sentence.
A qualified inmate may also be specially eligible for parole in certain circumstances:
- In order to undergo drug or alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, or
- To participate in a residential program of treatment in the best interest of an inmate's expected or newborn child
Special eligibility only exists where the offender meets other criteria. The inmate cannot be serving time for a crime of violence or certain drug-related crimes, and, of course, must be amenable to treatment.
Different time frames apply to offenders who are serving sentences for violent crimes, and life sentences. A skilled defense attorney may be able to secure an agreement with the prosecutor, sentencing judge anon a predetermined parole release agreement, which may serve to modify the requirements imposed by law.