University of Pretrial Library

Advancing Bail Reform in Maryland: Progress and Possibilities - Princeton University 2018 

03-19-2018 11:41

This report was prepared for the Baltimore City and Prince George’s County branches of the NAACP. In 2017, the Maryland Court of Appeals enacted a change in court procedure. The new court rule has substantially changed how the bail system operates in Maryland. This analysis points out (1) a drop of 21% of defendants assigned bail at initial hearings; (2) an increase in defendants held without bail before trial and released on their own recognizance; (3) an increase in the use of unsecured bail; and (4) that those assigned to bail since the change have had bail amounts that are on average 70% lower than in 2015. Less people are being jailed pretrial because they are too poor to pay bail. The for-profit bail industry, which has noted significant profit drops, has criticized the rule change and urged that the traditional bail system be reinstated. This report argues that rather than return the bail system as it was Maryland, policymakers should continue to build upon the successes of the rule change by strengthening alternatives to bail and pretrial detention.



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