Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced today that her Administration has proposed legislation to eliminate cash bonds to secure release from the City of Atlanta Detention Center following an arrest for violation of city ordinances. Criminal justice reform, including cash bail reform, has long been a key priority for Mayor Bottoms and was a centerpiece of her campaign.
“I am pleased to announce legislation to eliminate cash bonding at the City of Atlanta Detention Center,” said Mayor Bottoms. “With this legislation, we are affirming that people should not be held in jail because they cannot pay bond. We are making a commitment that the City of Atlanta will ensure that no one will be jailed because of their inability to pay. To achieve this commitment, we need action from all of our stakeholders, including the Municipal Court, the Atlanta City Council, and our city’s non-profit and philanthropic community. I look forward to working with our partners to adopt progressive, effective legislation and implement policies that align with our values.”
Requiring cash for bail can result in extended detention for individuals are only accused of low-level offenses and who are presumed innocent under the law. This detention can have significant impacts on individuals’ lives, affecting their ability to maintain jobs and their homes, especially for low-income individuals. Across the country, cities, counties and states are recognizing that moving away from cash bonding is essential to meaningful criminal justice reform.
The ordinance will be discussed in today’s Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee, where stakeholders will have the opportunity to help craft the final legislation.
Mayor Bottoms announced last week that her Transition Team has formed a policy advisory committee to provide guidance and counsel to the Mayor on issues including criminal justice reform, as well as a number of other issues. The committee will make additional recommendations, beyond eliminating cash bonding, for meaningful criminal justice reform at the municipal level.