ACLU encouraged by DOCR pretrial services reform efforts

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(KX News) — The ACLU said it’s encouraged by the Department of Corrections in its reforming of pretrial detention, specifically ending cash bail.

The ACLU of North Dakota Advocacy Director Dane DeKrey said “It’s time to end North Dakota’s current system of cash bail that lets the size of your wallet determine whether you’re granted freedom or stay locked up.”

He said the cash bail system causes a ripple effect in many communities. Those that can’t even afford a small bail amount, being held in jail until trial could cause loss of family, jobs and homes.

“For the first time in a long time, we’re re-evaluating the way we approach criminal justice and policing as a nation. And I think, to North Dakota’s credit, they’re stepping back and looking at the outcomes of the system and saying ‘Does this work?’ How much is it costing us?’ and ‘Can we do a better job in the process?,” DeKrey said.

The ACLU believes if North Dakota would implement changes, outlined in its Smart Justice 50 State Blueprint, which includes eliminating cash bail, just over a thousand fewer people would be in prison in the state by 2025, saving taxpayers more than $125 million.

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