Friday, September 28, 2018

Representative Sheila Harrington Appointed to Bail Reform Special Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce that he has appointed State Representative Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) to serve as his designee on a special commission on bail reform.

The 19-member commission, which was created as part of the criminal justice reform law signed in April, will consider potential changes to the current bail system, including the use of risk assessment factors to determine when bail should be set and when defendants should be released without bail.  The commission will also evaluate the setting of conditions for defendants when they are released, with or without bail, and will determine if changes need to be made to ensure that defendants are not impacted differently in the pretrial system based on their gender, race, gender identity or other protected class status.

“As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Harrington was a key contributor on the conference committee that finalized the new criminal justice reform law,” said Representative Jones.  “That, combined with her courtroom experience as an attorney, makes her eminently qualified to serve on this special commission that will explore ways to improve our current bail system to ensure equal and consistent treatment for all residents of the Commonwealth.”

The bail reform commission is comprised of a diverse group of legislators, court officials, attorney organizations and advocacy groups.  Among those who will be serving on the commission are Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, Massachusetts Superior Court Chief Justice Judith Fabricant, Massachusetts District Court Chief Justice Paul Dawley, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Probation Commissioner Edward Dolan.  The commission will also include representatives from the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc., and the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association. 

The bail reform commission is scheduled to file a report on its findings and recommendations with the Legislature by June 30, 2019.

Representative Harrington represents the First Middlesex District, which includes the towns of Ashby, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, Townsend and Precinct 1 in Ayer.