Proposed Changes to Ohio’s Cash Bail Policy are First Step to Fixing Broken System

Dec 07, 2017

Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute issued the following statement upon the introduction of House Bill 439, sponsored by State Representative Jonathan Dever (R-28), which would move Ohio away from an arbitrary cash bail system and give judges more flexibility and more information to detain dangerous defendants before trial.

“Under Ohio’s current bail system, pretrial release is determined by the amount of money a person has access to rather than the actual threat the person poses to the community. And the policies proposed today are the first step in reforming a broken system,” said Daniel J. Dew, a legal fellow with The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Center. “Ohio’s cash bail system leads to the absurd results where a drunken jaywalker spends time in jail while a child rapist is released on bond only to murder the child set to testify against him.”

In a forthcoming Buckeye Institute report, “Money Bail”: Making Ohio a More Dangerous Place to Live, scheduled to be released next week, Dew looks at Ohio’s failing cash bail system and the need to replace it with verified risk-assessment tools that provide a fairer, more efficient way to keep Ohio’s communities safe and secure.

“In our report, we show that reliance on cash bail hurts the poor at the expense of taxpayers and gives dangerous defendants the opportunity to buy their way out of jail,” Dew said. “Giving judges more information to make pretrial release decisions and giving them more tools to detain dangerous defendants will make Ohio communities safer.”