Governor’s Commission Meets on Pretrial Reform

The Governor’s Commission to Reform Maryland’s Pretrial System held its third meeting Monday, September 21. The meeting included a presentation from representatives from the District of Columbia on the District’s risk-assessment based system, a review of commission members’ site visits to Colorado and Kentucky to study their risk-assessment based systems in action, and updates from the commission’s subcommittees. As reported in the The Washington Examiner:

The Maryland commission is weighing how to reduce the burden on court commissioners who decide whether someone is detained. One of the methods is to use risk-assessment tools to incarcerate only people who are a danger to the community or a flight risk.

Spurgeon Kennedy, director of strategic development for District of Columbia’s pretrial services, told the panel that risk-assessment tools have been effective in a variety of jurisdictions around the country, including his city.

“Thousands stay released without their release status being revoked and thousands remain arrest free,” Kennedy said. “The No. 1 step to making sure that that happens is to make sure that you can access the risk of those arrestees correctly. If you don’t assess risk quickly and accurately at the start of the process, you’re lost.”

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the purpose of the commission is to bring together experts and interested parties to comprehensively examine the State’s pretrial system and to provide recommendations for reform. The commission has a number of specific objectives including:

  • Reviewing the use of pretrial risk assessment tools in other states and municipalities and providing a recommendation for a validated risk assessment tool to be used in Maryland
  • Assisting the state in running a pilot program for the risk assessment tool in one or more counties
  • Examining ways for the state to operate an efficient and equitable pretrial program

The commission must submit a final report its recommendations to the Governor by December 1, 2014. For more information and meeting materials please visit the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP)’s website and read the full article in The Washington Examiner