The Buckeye Institute: Ohio Takes Crucial Step to Reform its Broken Cash Bail System

Jul 01, 2020

Columbus, OH – On Wednesday, Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute, issued the following statement on the Ohio Supreme Court’s amendment to Criminal Rule 46 governing Ohio’s bail system, which takes effect today.

“For far too long, access to cash has been the primary determiner in whether someone awaiting trial is released from jail. With this new change, the primary determiner will be an assessment of whether the person is a danger to our communities, which is common sense. The results of the previous policy are well documented, and they are tragic. Ohio’s cash bail system was inefficient, expensive, and unjust.

“Although this new rule is imperfect, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted a number of The Buckeye Institute’s recommendations to most effectively reform the defective cash bail system, including ensuring Ohio courts make pretrial release decisions properly based upon public safety and the likelihood a defendant will appear in court. While legislative action would do even more to fix Ohio’s broken cash bail system, this new change is a strong first step in the right direction.”

Unlike New York’s dysfunctional system, Ohio rightly allows judges to hold dangerous felons without bail to preserve public safety.

The Buckeye Institute was instrumental in securing these new reforms to Ohio’s cash bail system, with Buckeye experts serving on the Supreme Court’s Task Force to Examine Ohio’s Bail System. Buckeye’s report, “Money Bail”: Making Ohio a More Dangerous Place to Live, outlined Ohio cases where the money bail system failed Ohioans. Buckeye instead recommended the use of evidence-based, risk-assessment tools to evaluate the danger that individuals pose to a community as a key factor in judicial determination of whether to release the accused pretrial. Buckeye’s follow-on report revealed that bail reform could save Ohio taxpayers an estimated $67 million per year in jail costs.

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