BOSTON — The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a major overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system. The bill, S.2185, is 113 pages long, has 239 sections and is estimated to cost more than $1 million in the next fiscal year. So what would the bill do? Here is a look at a few major topics addressed in the bill.
The purpose of bail reform is to ensure that someone is not imprisoned solely because they are unable to afford cash bail.
“What we’re trying to do with bail reform is move bail from a cash based system, which disproportionately affects people who don’t have money, to a system that’s evidence based and that’s objective and that determines or looks at whether someone is a flight risk or a danger to themselves or others,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington.
What this means is establishing ways for judges to assess whether someone is a flight risk or a danger, determine how much they can pay, and set bail at the least restrictive amount possible to ensure that they will return to court and will not pose a danger to others.