Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that, effective August 1, 2021, Baltimore County will eliminate the fees charged to individuals in the Department of Corrections’ Pretrial Community Supervision program, which provides an alternative to incarceration.
“We remain fully committed to enacting meaningful and impactful reforms of our justice system, and this is another important step forward in that work,” Olszewski said. “These fees can perpetuate a cycle of punishment and eliminating them helps to create a more equitable system by removing unnecessary financial burdens and empowering individuals to better support themselves and their families.”
This Alternative Sentencing program releases individuals to community supervision and provides an avenue for monitoring prerelease conditions, which increases likelihood of appearance in court and reduces public safety risk to the community.
As of May 2021, Baltimore County had 1,041 individuals in the Pretrial Community Supervision program. The fee structure for the program was as follows:
- A one-time program fee: $30
- Lab fees for drug testing: $25 per test
The County has often waived fees for individuals in the Pretrial Community Supervision program for a number of reasons, including if they had a disability or were unemployed.
The cost to the County to operate the program is approximately $827,000 per year. If the individuals currently in alternative sentencing had been housed at the detention center instead, the cost for the year would exceed $2.8 million.
Earlier this year, the Olszewski administration eliminated home-monitoring fees, after the COVID-19 pandemic cast a spotlight on the significant burden that these fees can present for individuals placed on home detention.