OSI-Baltimore director Diana Morris. Photo courtesy of the Pretrial Justice Institute.
Last night, despite soaring temperatures, a crowed packed The Living Well for the opening reception of #unconvicted, a photo exhibit documenting the plight of pretrial detainees. Many detainees spend weeks or month behind bars without being convicted of any crime because of the cash bail system, which penalizes the poor for their economic status. The powerful images put a human face on what is largely a harmful and ineffective practice.
Tara Huffman, director of OSI’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program opened the discussion by announcing that the evening marked the beginning of a years-long campaign by OSI and others that will focus on changing the law in Maryland from a cash-based system to a risk-based system.
Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute discussed the state of pretrial reform in Maryland and the work being done to end the unjust cash bail system. She was also able to give the attendees more information about the subjects in the photos.
The evening included a social media campaign that asked participants to complete the sentence “Maryland needs bail reform because…”
Learn more about the photos, taken by David Y. Lee, here.
Listen to Tara and Cherise on WYPR’s Maryland Morning with Tom Hall.