The cash bail system in Maryland is broken and unjust. It imposes jail time on those who have not yet been tried. Cash bail has a disproportionate impact on black communities and communities of people living in poverty.
HB 1390 and SB 880 "The Maryland Pretrial Justice Reform Act of 2017" addresses this in the following way according to Leaders of A Beautiful Struggle:
"This bill requires the exhaustion of all non-financial conditions for release before cash bail is even considered. Examples of these conditions are: checking in with a pre-trial justice center while on release, adhering to a drug treatment or mediation program, or electronic surveillance. Our idea is that the non-financial conditions for release are so expansive that it renders the cash bail system obsolete. We will also be advocating for an amendment to the bill that requires community participation in the development and administration of a risk assessment tool."
The Green Party of the United States platform makes a call to “Incorporate mental health and social services in bail agreements.”Reforming the bail system in the manner suggested in the Maryland Pretrial Justice Reform Act prioritizes these and other non-financial conditions of bail while reducing pretrial detention and its associated financial impacts.
While there are several bills regarding pretrial detention in the Maryland General Assembly this session we believe that HB 1390 and SB 880 have the most potential to truly ameliorate the implications of Maryland’s unjust cash bail system, while creating community based alternatives and institutions which provide an alternative to incarceration.