Lisa Smith

A Maryland law lets violent convicts leave prison early for drug treatment. Some say it's being abused.

A Maryland law lets violent convicts leave prison early for drug treatment. Some say it's being abused.

In February 2017, armed robber Sheirod Saunders had served less than three years of an eight-year prison sentence when a judge ordered him released to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Baltimore.

Saunders promptly escaped from the unsecured facility, authorities say. He scooped up bags holding the belongings of other patients, they say, ran out the front door, jumped into a light green car and headed off. They’ve been searching for him ever since.

Across the state, dozens of inmates convicted of violent crimes — carjackings, shootings and attempted murder — are using a Maryland law intended to help addicted offenders get drug treatment to win early release, sometimes...

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