Atlanta Civil Rights attorney Mawuli Davis calls today “historic”. He and other members of the activist community were present Tuesday when Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed into law ordinance 18-O-1045. It eliminates cash bonds to secure release from the City of Atlanta Detention Center following an arrest for violation of city ordinances. Davis says, “this was only possible through the collective work of the Coalition to End Money Bail.” Davis adding, “the advocates and attorneys who worked tireless in the community and with the Mayor’s office should be lifted up.” Monday Atlanta City Council voted to end cash bail for low-level offenses.
Criminal justice reform, including cash bail reform, has long been a key priority for Mayor Bottoms and was a centerpiece of her campaign. During Tuesday’s signing, Mayor Bottoms said, “I am pleased to sign this ordinance, which eliminates cash bonding at the City of Atlanta Detention Center. With this ordinance, we are affirming that people should not be held in jail because they cannot pay bond. We are also making a commitment that the City of Atlanta will ensure that no one will be jailed because of their inability to pay,” said Mayor Bottoms. “I am grateful to Council member Natalyn Archibong for her work in leading the passage of this ordinance. To achieve this commitment, we need action from all of our stakeholders, including the Municipal Court and our city’s non-profit and philanthropic community. I look forward to working with our partners as we continue to seek opportunities to increase the supportive resources and wrap-around services available to individuals released on signature bond to ensure their safety and the safety of our communities.”
According to the Mayor’s office, the ordinance maintains the ability to impose bail and other conditions for certain offenders including violent offenders, repeat offenders, and offenders who fail to appear for their initial hearing. The ordinance also authorizes the Office of the Public Defender to provide additional legal and social services so that defendants are not released into the public without the necessary support and resources needed to integrate back into their communities.
Attorney Davis says, “It is our hope that this is the first brick in the Mayor’s legacy of supporting social justice in Atlanta.”