The Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank, has added its name to a growing list of organizations calling for bail reform in Ohio, reports Cleveland.com. The institute released a report Monday that contends the practice of requiring defendants to post money in order to secure their release from jail is an “inefficient, expensive, unfair means of protecting communities that has proven no guarantee to stopping repeat offenders.” The report, “Money Bail”: Making Ohio a More Dangerous Place to Live, is authored is by the institute’s Daniel Dew. Dew cited media articles about bail-related issues including several from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Cleveland.com’s ongoing Justice for All series is examining inequities in the judicial system, including the use of bail.
Cleveland.com write about a man who spent four days in jail after being arrested for drunken jaywalking. Another was about a traffic offender who spent a week in jail after he failed to pay a traffic ticket for driving on a suspended license. Both cases were cited by the Buckeye Institute report. “Many criminal justice systems throughout the country . . . foster an outmoded practice of pretrial release that allows accused murderers, child rapists, armed robbers, and dangerous gang members to be arrested and released into our communities to await trial,” the report states. “Meanwhile, many jurisdictions allow otherwise law-abiding, harmless citizens to sit in jail for days, weeks, or even months before trial for jaywalking, violating dress-codes, or failing to pay traffic tickets.” The report cites Lucas County, Oh., for using evidence-based risk-assessment tools that it says have resulted in less crime by those released from jail and awaiting trial and a higher rate of defendants making their scheduled court appearances.