Media Contact

Daniel Jackson, 

October 20, 2021

DETROIT – The ACLU of Michigan applauds state lawmakers for introducing legislation to reform Michigan’s bail and pretrial system.  

This bipartisan package of bills will ensure that people are not jailed because they cannot afford bail, a practice that contributes to Michigan’s mass incarceration crisis and disproportionately impacts Black people and other people of color.  

House Bills 5436 to 5443, sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislative leaders, are based on recommendations from the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration led by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and supported by a diverse coalition of organizations, including the ACLU of Michigan. 

Specifically, the legislation will:   

  • Limit the use of cash bail and other over-restrictive bail conditions. 
  • Require release on personal recognizance for people charged with non-serious misdemeanors. 
  • Establish consistent statewide guidelines when determining conditions of pretrial release. 
  • Require courts to track and regularly share data on their pretrial release decisions. 

ACLU Policy Counsel, Kimberly Buddin, had this reaction to today’s news: 

“We are grateful the Legislature is committed to fixing Michigan’s broken bail system that deprives people of their freedom simply because they cannot afford bail. A founding principle of our criminal legal system is that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Our current system punishes people before they have had their day in court and harms families and communities, particularly communities of color who are disproportionately impacted. People jailed for even a few days risk losing their jobs, their homes, custody of their children, and educational opportunities, trapping them in a cycle of poverty, recidivism, and incarceration.We urge the Michigan Legislature to move quickly and pass this legislation.”