Submitted by the Office of District Attorney Marian Ryan
Today I am announcing that it will be the practice of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office not to request cash bail in non-violent, low-level cases in the district court. Recognizing that even a short period of incarceration can cause tremendous upheaval in one’s life, including loss of employment and housing, this practice seeks to prevent incarceration solely due to a lack of financial resources and in cases where we don’t intend to seek a jail sentence.
This action reflects what has been the evolving practice of this office regarding cash bail and is informed by my work on criminal justice reform with the Massachusetts Legislature, Middlesex Chiefs of Police, members of the defense bar, community leaders and the public. It is also reflective of our larger focus on understanding the impact the criminal justice system has on people’s lives and presenting alternatives to prosecution such as restorative justice and diversion.
As always, public safety will remain our highest priority and we will continue to request cash bail in cases where the facts and circumstances suggest it is necessary including those involving sexual assault, domestic violence, and firearms. Moving forward we will continue to consult with the many stakeholders who have informed our position on this issue.