Bail & Pretrial Reform (included in S.2371) Summary

  • Codifies the main holding of the Brangan v. Commonwealth case – a judge should consider financial capability of defendant and set bail only as high as needed to assure defendant’s return.
  • Requires that if judge needs to set unaffordable bail to assure return, the judge make written findings that the Commonwealth’s interest in assuring return outweighs the harm of detention to the individual and their family.
  • Allows judges to use community corrections facilities for pre-trial release (consistent with CSG report)
  • Creates pre-trial services unit to remind defendants of upcoming court dates using modern messaging approaches.
  • Creates a commission on bail to monitor change and suggest further improvements.