R Street hosted a recent Capitol Hill panel to discuss how reliance on cash bail as a primary determinant for detention in pretrial hearings can harm public safety and hamper individual liberty. The panel was moderated by Marc Howard, professor of government and law, Georgetown University.

The panelists considered how objective pretrial risk assessments could serve as a complement to bail. Sekwan Merritt, a former inmate, discussed how the jail and cash bail system impacts people of color, and how facilities can increase rehabilitative resources to stop the revolving door of local jails. The panel also discussed the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act, recently introduced bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Other panelists included:

  • Arthur Rizer, R Street’s director of national security and justice policy
  • Ed Chung, vice president for criminal justice reform, Center for American Progress
  • Robert Green, director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
  • Sekwan Merritt, reform advocate and former inmate

Video of the event can be found here.