This year has started with Illinois and Maryland passing historic laws that many believe will help purify the historically tainted American justice system. In April, Maryland passed bills that will place limitations on no-knock warrants, require police to wear body cameras, and repeal that state's infamous police Bill of Rights. In February, Illinois passed laws requiring police officers to be licensed by the state, to wear body cameras, and to completely eliminate cash bonds.
In 1974, Maryland became the first state to enact a police Bill of Rights that protect police officers from investigation, prosecution, and transparency. Once passed in “The Free State,” it quickly spread to police departments across the nation. Maryland has become the first to repeal it.
Port of Harlem contributor Tyrone Colbert says these movements provide him and many others housed in the Jessup Correctional Center in Maryland hope. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said via phone.
The Land of Obama and Lincoln become the first state to completely eliminate cash bond payments for people who have been arrested and are waiting for their case to be heard. Many call cash bail payments a "poor people's tax" since it leaves those who can't come up with the money in jail for weeks or even accepting plea deals as a way to get out of jail and back to their lives and jobs.