Bi-partisan bills in both the Ohio state House and Senate introduced this week seek to reform the way the cash bail system works in the Buckeye State.
Also part of this bill, a hearing would happen 48 hours after detention to rule on a person’s condition of release. At this hearing, a person’s financial situation would be a factor in setting his or her cash bail, according to a press release by Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon).
McColley, who is a primary sponsor of Senate Bill 182, said this bill makes the cash bail system “more responsive to the resources of the individuals and operates under the presumption that everyone is innocent.”
“Every person is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and our current bail system has failed Ohioans in respecting that presumption, resulting in inequitable treatment and verdicts,” McColley said.
Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), who is a primary sponsor of House Bill 315, said Ohio needs this reform to “promote public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and ensure that Ohioans are treated equally under the law.”
“Our current system keeps poor people in jail while wealthier people accused of the exact same crimes can buy their freedom,” he said.
The Bail Project, which is a national nonprofit that provides free bail assistance to Americans, were “thrilled” about the new pieces of legislation. This nonprofit said the “introduction of these bipartisan, companion bills is a leap forward in the right direction.”
Ohio has made changes to its cash bail system recently. In March, the Ohio Supreme Court approved changes to the bail system by allowing counties to choose whether to release an “individual on nonmonetary personal recognizance before resorting to formal bail,” according to Court News Ohio. Furthermore, the court created the ability for counties with more than “one municipal or county court” to establish a coordinated bail schedule.
Bail reform is a popular idea in Ohio. A May poll showed that 70 percent of Ohioans supported cash bail reform, cincinnati.com reported.
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