Daniel J. Dew
Ohio’s cash bail system remains broken. Just ask Markcus Brown, the man locked-up for nine days because he did not meet the RTA’s dress code and he could not afford bail after his arrest for “trespassing” at the bus station. Mr. Brown’s case is another stark reminder that the cash bail status quo does a remarkably poor job of determining which defendants should be released before trial and which should wait in jail.
In a piece for The Columbus Dispatch, Buckeye's Daniel J. Dew calls out suspect polling being used by the American Bail Coalition to claim that people oppose bail reform. Reputable polling, conducted and released using professional industry standards, shows 85 percent of people favor replacing cash bail with supervised release.
Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute’s Daniel J. Dew testified today before the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee on Ohio’s failing cash bail system, which the polices in House Bill 439 would reform. In his testimony, Dew said, “Pretrial decisions should be based on risk, not the size of the defendant’s wallet. As experience has shown, money deposited with the court or with a bail agent does not make a person less dangerous. Policies like those found in House Bill 439 would make our system fairer and our communities safer.”
Columbus, OH – Today, The Buckeye Institute released its latest policy report, “Money Bail”: Making Ohio a More Dangerous Place to Live, which looks at the need for Ohio to replace its failing cash bail system with proven risk-assessment tools that provide a fairer, more efficient way to keep Ohio’s communities safe and secure.
Ohio’s prison system costs taxpayers $1.8 billion every year. By reexamining criminal justice issues, policymakers are ensuring that those dollars are spent wisely. Good policy ensures that dangerous criminals are off the streets, while those who have made mistakes and can be safely rehabilitated in the community are placed on the path to become responsible citizens.
The FBI recently released national crime data for 2016. Following the national figures, Ohio’s violent crime ticked up by 2.8 percent and property crime decreased slightly. While any increase in crime raises some concerns, it’s important to look at the data in historical context. Despite the up-tick, violent crime in Ohio is down almost 14 percent since 2008 and an astounding 31 percent from 1997. Likewise, property crime is down 29 percent from just a decade ago.
Ohio has aging water and sewer systems that are constantly in need of repair and many need to be replaced. Unfortunately, some localities are limiting competition by requiring the pipes be made of a more expensive material, when it would be in taxpayer’s interest to consider all materials that are deemed safe.
An accused serial killer walked out of police custody only to commit another felony. Around that same time, another man was held in jail for violating a dress code. His crime — wearing a hoodie and saggy pants inside an RTA hub. The alleged murderer walked free, while the man with droopy drawers sat in jail. The reason? One had access to money while the other didn’t.
As bail reform proposals gain momentum across the country, the bail bond industry has been under the gun and bail agents—like Dog the Bounty Hunter—are looking to protect their profits. Bail reform advocates have been challenging the constitutionality of cash bail in court for years, but now the bail industry itself has filed suit to oppose New Jersey’s new bail initiatives.
Ohio has greatly benefited from the discovery of the Utica and Marcellus shale formations, which has brought money and jobs to an economically depressed part of the state. According to Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, shale has created more than 195,000 core and ancillary jobs in Ohio and, on average, those jobs pay 36 percent more than the average Ohio job. That is good news for the Buckeye State.