Effective July 2021: Weekly club meetings are now open for in-person OR virtual participation. If you would like to join a meeting as our guest, please email Kathy Hainley, Executive Administrator, at rotarycluboflancaster@gmail.com for more information.

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Weekly Meeting – Bail Reform

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August 17 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Bail Reform

Jeff Hawkes & Michelle Batt
Lancaster Bail Fund

In their presentation, Michelle and Jeff will elaborate on their advocacy and on the work of the Lancaster Bail Fund.

Earlier this year, the ACLU-PA filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Lancaster County, alleging unconstitutional bail practices. Advocates for bail reform, Michelle Batt and Jeff Hawkes, while welcoming the ACLU’s action, regret that it’s necessary. For the past year they, and others, have been urging county officials to adopt practices to assure that no one sits in jail simply because they can’t afford their bail.

Last year, 69% of the people incarcerated in Lancaster County Prison were being detained pretrial. That is about 500 people on any given day, many of whom were jailed because they lacked access to cash. County taxpayers paid over $20 million to incarcerate legally innocent people last year. And this says nothing about the human and societal costs.

Research shows that “pretrial detention can have adverse effects on public safety … that there is a correlation between the imposition of [cash bail] and … individuals suffering from housing insecurity, unemployment, loss of child custody, and an increased risk of future criminal behavior.”

The adoption of more just and humane pretrial incarceration policies would have benefits for taxpayers. At a time when the county is designing a new jail, significant savings can be achieved by planning for a smaller jail population.

Michelle Batt is a local attorney with a decade of experience in criminal law. Last year, she left her position as Senior Assistant Public Defender with the Lancaster County office and helped found the Lancaster Bail Fund. She’s currently employed as a staff attorney with Church World Service. She serves as the president of the Lancaster Bail Fund.

Jeff Hawkes retired last year after a 42-year career as a reporter and columnist with LNP. In retirement, he continues to engage with the community as an advocate for racial justice and criminal justice reform.

Rotary Club of Lancaster meets weekly, starting at 12:00 Noon at the Lancaster Farm & Home Center.  If you’d like to join us, please contact Kathy Hainley, Executive Administrator for the club, using our Contact Form.   Lunch is provided at a cost of $16.


August 17
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


Lancaster Farm & Home Center
1383 Arcadia Rd,
Lancaster, PA 17601 United States
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(717) 392-4911