In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the call for criminal justice reform is strong. And that’s fair – anything that is poorly administered, dangerous, violates civil rights, and costs taxpayers ungodly amounts of money is sure to draw the attention – and ire – of both citizens and a free press.
But where things take a turn in the above-referenced and linked article is in the call for bail reform, which is not so cut and dried. From the article:
Finally, we renew our call on Judge Russo to bring urgency to reforming the bail system. As we’ve long said, adopting a practice, widely used elsewhere, that relies on proven assessments to determine which inmates are unlikely to appear for court is more fair than the cash bail system since it treats rich and poor equally. But bail reform also would reduce the number of inmates in the jail, bringing relief to the crowding that makes the existing jail so dangerous.
Pretrial Assessments Don’t Actually Work
Unless your goal is to make jail crowding worse, that is. What the article won’t point out is that far from “proven assessments” having a positive effect, they have been shown to work against the desires of so-called reformers. We’ve seen this at home in Maryland, where the number of incarcerated has risen dramatically after bail reform has been instituted. Far from solving a problem, then, this reform is sure to pour gasoline on an already fiery situation in Cuyahoga County.
Perhaps the writer of that article is simply unaware of the actual statistics related to bail vs. pretrial services. And perhaps that can be forgiven. But opinion stated in ignorance of facts…well, that’s an opinion that’s simply not worth very much.
Now, Who’s Going to Pony Up?
It gets worse though. In addition to an utter lack of understanding of the actual statistics, the article goes on to call for taxpayer money to administer this whole charade:
As Russo moves forward with bail reform, Budish must immediately provide the startup money for the pretrial services required for the assessment system. We know from places like Summit County, where bail reform saves millions of dollars a year, that taxpayers will get their investment in bail reform back quickly.