Policy 2021-02: “No Cash Bail” and Pretrial Detention Policy
The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office does not make use of cash bail. Cash bail is a system under which a defendant who has been accused of a crime is required to post money in order to secure release from jail pending trial. Importantly, cash bail forces defendants to pay for their release before they have been convicted. In function, cash bail imposes pre-conviction punishment on criminal defendants who cannot afford to pay.
By its very terms, cash bail is socioeconomically inequitable. Under a cash bail system, poorer people—even those who are accused of relatively minor crimes—are forced to sit in jail for days, weeks, or years. At the same time, cash bail allows wealthier people who are accused of serious crimes to go free pending trial.
Accordingly, it is the policy of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office not to seek cash bail in any case. That does not mean that people who pose a danger to the community pending trial will simply walk free. Rather, it means that we seek to apply the same standards to everyone—regardless of how much money they have in their bank account. We seek to impose appropriate non-monetary pretrial conditions (including, where appropriate, pre-trial detention) based on the threat one poses to the community, not based on how much money they have.
Read our full Policy Eliminating the Use of Cash Bail and Setting Standards for Pretrial Detention