Laura A. Bischoff The Columbus Dispatch As Ohio faces the biggest public corruption case in the…
In 1964, Robert F. Kennedy said, “The rich and the poor do not receive equal justice in our courts. And in no area is that more evident than in the matter of bail.” And yet, nearly 60 years later, cash bail continues to upend lives, tear apart families, and create vastly different outcomes for the wealthy and the poor in Ohio.
That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation to end the practice of keeping people in jail solely because they can’t afford bail. Our legislation in the House has 45 total sponsors and cosponsors, with a companion bill introduced in the Senate.
Now is the time for bail reform because:
- On any given day in Ohio, over 60% of the people in Ohio jails haven’t been convicted of a crime. They’re in jail because they can’t afford to pay cash bail. This can be as many as 12,000 Ohioans each day.
- People in jail because they can’t afford cash bail risk losing their jobs, their homes and even custody of their kids.· Cash bail is incompatible with equal justice under the law. It keeps poor people in jail while wealthier people accused of the exact same crimes can buy their freedom.
- Keeping so many people in jail is a waste of tax dollars. Bail reform could save Ohio $264 million each year.
- Cash bail doesn’t make us safer. It allows wealthy people who may be dangerous to buy their freedom and commit new crimes.
No innocent person should stay in jail because they can’t afford bail. This is an opportunity for us to make our communities safer while moving us ever closer to justice for all.