ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A proposal to create a statewide pretrial services unit, which would help decide whether or not arrestees should be held in jail before their trials, is gaining ground in Maryland’s legislature.

The Washington Post reports that the Senate agreed Friday to suspend procedural rules and introduce a last-minute bill from Sen. Brian Frosh directly to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Frosh’s bill would use law enforcement and corrections personnel to screen arrestees, so that most could be released without appearing before a judicial officer, the Post reports.

The bill is modeled after programs in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.

Frosh couldn’t provide a cost estimate, but he predicted it would cost less than retaining Maryland’s two-part bail-setting process and assigning a public defender to every poor arrestee.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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