© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What Maryland Can Learn From DC About The Bail System

Andrew Bardwell / Creative Commons

Of the hundreds arrested after the rioting in April, fewer than half ended up being charged, for lack of evidence. But the process again put a spotlight on Maryland’s system of “money bail.” Poor defendants arrested for minor charges often sit in jail for days or weeks before their trials, because they can’t pay small bond amounts – while violent offenders with more financial resources may be released into the community pending trial.

Washington DC, meanwhile, has not used money bail in over 20 years. Judges there use a risk assessment score-sheet to help them make individual decisions about whether defendants are too dangerous to release, or whether they should be sent home and given substance abuse, mental health, or other services while awaiting trial. Could DC’s pretrial system be a model for reform in Maryland?

With us in the studio to talk about the bail system is Cliff Keenan, director of the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia. Also with us is Paul DeWolfe, Maryland’s Public Defender.

Earlier this month, The New York Times wrote about the bail system in Maryland: "When Bail Is Out of Defendant’s Reach, Other Costs Mount".

Audio for this segment will be available by the end of the day.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.