Senate Bill 182 would repeal the current bail requirements, and replace it with a system based on a person’s ability to pay.
“Over and over, we’ve heard compelling stories of people, especially people of color, being jailed for weeks — simply because they don’t have the means to make bail,” said Huffman. “This only multiplies the burden on the individual, who now faces the potential of being fired from a job or from being able to care for their children.”
Cincinnati native Shameka Parrish Wright, operations manager for the Bail Project said, “The presumption of innocence only existed on paper,” referring to a case she faced 25 years ago where she was the victim, but found herself in jail. “I lost my job, I almost lost my apartment and I was mostly worried about getting back to my daughter."
The bill addresses the cash bail system, replacing it with a means tested program that reviews what the net income of a person is, before assigning a bail amount.
Someone with money, or access to it, may easily make bail, while $500 might as well be $5,000 for some people.
Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court Maureen O’Connor expressed her support for reform, pledging help and input from the court system.
Joining Senator Huffman and Senator McColley for today’s news conference were bipartisan co-sponsors of companion legislation in the Ohio House, State Rep. Brett Hilyer (R-Uhrichsville), State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) and State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), the President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
To watch the news conference from today click here. For more information on the legislation visit https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/.