COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Bail reform is set to be one of the issues on the ballot this November.
At the beginning of 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that “the sole purpose of bail is to ensure an accused person’s attendance in court,” saying “public safety is not a consideration with respect to the financial conditions of bail.”
Ohio State Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said that court ruling should be reversed.
“All this does is allow one factor to be included when setting bail,” Antani said.
The proposed constitutional amendment, HJR2, would allow courts to factor in public safety when setting bail.
“Bail is just the illusion of safety,” Ohio State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) said. “It doesn’t keep us safe.”
“Bail has been around since the beginning of our country,” Antani said. “It’s around in every civilized society.”
Leland said increasing bail amounts based on public safety does not do much.
“We’ve all read stories about people who have paid high bail, gotten out of jail, and then gone out and committed terrible crimes, including murder,” he said.
Right now, cash bail can only be forfeited if a defendant does not appear in court.
“Bail should not be used in criminal proceedings because bail does not keep us safe,” Leland said. “Criminals can pay the bail, get out of jail, and then go out and commit tremendous crimes.”
“People who are under trial are just that, under trial, they shouldn’t just be sitting in jail,” Antani said. “So, the system of bail is there to give people the ability to be released.”
If Ohioans vote in favor of this resolution in the fall, it will take effect immediately.