Plan focusing on bail reform unveiled with bipartisan support

Advocates for change are pushing for a reform law that will be hitting courthouses in the Miami Valley and across Ohio that targets bail reform, and it already has bipartisan support.

It includes the court system that determines if a person charged with a crime stays in jail while they wait for trial because they can’t afford to post bail.

Shameka Parrish-Wright is not only an advocate for change working with The Bail Project, but years ago she had her own experience when she was held in jail on a criminal domestic violence charge because she could not afford bail.

“I was doing the prayer that everybody does when they get locked up. ‘God please me out of this situation. I’ll never be back,’” Parrish-Wright said.

State lawmakers are now unveiling a plan to have judges consider a person’s ability to pay and if they require the person to post bond to get out while they wait for trial. Otherwise, only the people with access to cash get out.

“It’s all about people who have money who can buy their way out of jail. People who don’t have money get stuck in jail,” State Rep. Dave Leland said.

The plan has bipartisan support, including from a top Republican lawmaker from the Miami Valley.

“This is one step with bail bonds that we are going to move forward. At this point, there is there is a consensus,” Senator Steve Huffman said.

The plan does not eliminate cash bail like other states have done, but takes a step away from using it so much.

It has the support of the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, and advocates say that will help.

“It’s a big step going in the right direction,” Parrish-Wright said.

The plan was introduced Tuesday, but having bipartisan support helps increase its chances of being passed and making it into law.