Representative David LeGrand, of Michigan, is trying hard to push through bail reform in his state, and we have to think it’s a bit misguided. LeGrand’s recent 9-bill bail package is going to be discussed in the legislature soon, and it bears watching.
As we’ve noted before, bail reform makes sense in various instances. Low level offenders, the mentally ill, and the poor who are in jail for these minor offenses are noteworthy in this regard. In many instances, it seems society at large simply doesn’t know what to do with such folks, nor are many willing to foot the bill. Homeless shelters, group homes, psychiatric intensive care units, and others are the likely proper destination for many who sit in jail now, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Another case where bail reform makes perfect sense is when there is a lack of due process, i.e. – review of someone’s bail by a judge. But in Michigan, these cases are not the target of the new legislation.
LeGrand’s new rules would allow those convicted of two or more felonies to get out of jail without a bail bond. But past felony convictions are the best predictor of future felony convictions, and the possibility that such a defendant will fail to appear for a court case must certainly be higher than otherwise. So why would LeGrand want to go easy on such offenders?
Don’t Worry About the Child Support
Currently, willful non-payers of child support must obtain money bail funds to get out of jail pending their court cases. To clarify, “willful” non-payment means having the funds to make payments, but simply refusing to do so. LeGrand would let these folks out of jail as well…for free.
Michigan is Already Violent Enough
Also worth noting is that incidents of violent crimes constitute 36% of total crimes committed. These include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In nearby Minnesota, those violent crimes make up just 24% of the total crimes committed. So…Michigan needs less strict rules on letting people out of jail? Doubtful.