Tuesday morning, alongside Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), and a coalition of supporters, State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) announced the introduction of bipartisan bail reform legislation.
“On any given day, over 60 percent of the people in Ohio jails haven’t been convicted of a crime – they’re in jail because they can’t afford to pay cash bail,” said Rep. Leland. “People stuck in jail because they can’t afford bail lose their jobs, their homes, and even custody of their children.”
The House legislation is joint-sponsored by State Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville), and a companion bill was simultaneously introduced in the Ohio Senate by Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) and Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City). Upon introduction, the House legislation had bipartisan support from a total of 45 sponsors and co-sponsors.
“This is the reform Ohio needs to promote public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and ensure that Ohioans are treated equally under the law,” said Rep. Leland. “Our current system keeps poor people in jail while wealthier people accused of the exact same crimes can buy their freedom.”
Studies show cash bail disproportionately harms people of color in Ohio, cash bail makes Ohioans less safe, and bail reform would save Ohio taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.