Lawmakers target Michigan's 'pay or stay' cash bail system

A 10-bill package taking aim at the state’s “pay or stay” cash bail system could be picking up momentum a few months after dying in the Michigan House.

The bills seek to stop counties from keeping low-income, low-risk offenders in jail because of an inability to make bail unless the defendants pose a danger or flight risk. The legislation creates best practices for judges who are setting bonds, allows defendants to fill out a financial disclosure form and requires quarterly bail reports from district and circuit courts.

“We’re all Americans and I think it shocks the conscience of both liberals and conservatives and moderates when we have a justice system that is rationed by the thickness of your wallet,” said Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.

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