Listen to University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law professor Doug Colbert and WYPR Statehouse reporter Rachel Baye discuss prospects for bail reform in Maryland with Tom Hall on WYPR’s Midday (discussion begins about 15:30 mark).
In a survey prepared by the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), with funding from OSI-Baltimore, 70 percent of likely voters were in favor of using risk assessments as the determining factor for keeping someone in jail before trial, rather than their ability to pay cash bail. Only 10 percent of the likely voters surveyed support using cash bail as the determining factor.
The same survey also found that 80 percent of voters agree that the criminal justice system should focus on arresting violent criminals rather than low-level offenders.
Advocates of bail reform cite credible evidence that shows Maryland’s current bail system disproportionately impacts people of color and people with limited means. Attorney General Brian Frosh, in a letter to the House of Delegates called the system “likely unconstitutional” and urged them to consider a defendants financial situation before setting bail.
OSI-Baltimore and Professor Colbert, as well as PJI are part of a coalition to reform cash bail in Maryland, The Coalition for a Safe and Just Maryland. See a full list of all coalition members here: https://www.safeandjustmd.org/