Cost, Public Safety At Top Of List For Possible MD Bail Review C - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Cost, Public Safety At Top Of List For Possible MD Bail Review Change

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SALISBURY, Md. - Bail review is an important process after someone is arrested.

Currently in Maryland, commissioners consider public safety and the accused's risk of flight before deciding to release or jail that person. A state Senate bill would eliminate the need for a commissioner and use risk assessment data instead.

A low risk score, the person is released. A higher risk, a hearing before a judge.

The concept isn't new to Maryland state's attorneys, who use a statistical matrix to calculate sentencing recommendations for convicts.
     
"The offender score is neutral, it's based on the offenders record," said Wicomico County state's attorney Matt Maciarello.

Maciarello says a risk calculation for bail hearings could be an important cost-saving measure, especially because starting in June, the state must provide a public defender at every bail hearing.

"We are doing something cost-effective, but at the same time balancing the risk to public safety to make sure we are not releasing people that shouldn't be released," said Maciarello.

William Hall, a public defender in Wicomico County argues that someone with training is needed at the review. 

"You don't let it replace the judicial system with a computer, that's why we have judges," said Hall. "That's why we have commissioners."

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