The bail system is supposed to ensure people most people can be free awaiting trial. But it’s not working: today, the majority of people in Maine jails haven’t been convicted of a crime.
We have an unequal system where some people can buy their freedom while people with limited resources sit in jail awaiting trial. This system ignores the constitutional promise that people be treated as innocent until proven guilty, and that justice not depend on what is in a person’s wallet. It devastates the lives of people who lose their jobs, their homes, and even custody of their children while sitting in jail waiting for their day in court. And it is enormously expensive to Maine taxpayers, who foot the bill of holding people in jail.
This bill would make key reforms to the bail system to ensure people who have not been convicted of a crime, and who pose no flight risk or danger to society, can be free awaiting trial instead of held in jail.