Recent polling data shows that 75% of Ohioans support criminal justice reform and 70% support reform of Ohio's pre-trial system.
In Ohio, an individual may have the opportunity to buy their freedom through a bond (also known as bail). However, if they can’t afford a bond, they’ll likely remain in jail. Ability to pay, not risk, is the primary factor in freedom or detention for many Ohioans who still have not been convicted of a crime.
While incarceration before trial is understandable for individuals who pose a significant flight risk or are a threat to the community, others who are a low-risk of either should not sit in jail simply because they can’t afford bail. Our state needs to transition to a pretrial system based on an individual’s risk, not his or her financial resources.
This unnecessary pre-trial incarceration creates long-lasting effects for Ohioans, their families, and communities. Those who remain jailed until they can stand trial are put at risk of losing their job, their home, and even custody of their children. Research shows this makes them more likely to engage in future crime even if they are innocent of the current crime.
Recently introduced legislation, Senate Bill 182 and House Bill 315, would bring needed reforms to our pre-trial and criminal justice systems.
The time is now for legislators in Columbus to pass true pre-trial reform.
Sign the letter to urge your lawmakers to support these much-needed criminal justice and pre-trial reforms by voting YES on Senate Bill 182 and House Bill 315!