Cuyahoga County, Ohio
In partnership with county judges and other interested stakeholders, the ACLU of Ohio commissioned a comprehensive study of certain Cuyahoga County jail facilities to determine how money bail is being used across the various municipal county courts and court of common pleas. The study was authored by the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), a leading research organization dedicated to supporting “safe, fair, and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices and policies that honor and protect all people.” After months of research, PJI finished the study in mid-October 2017.
As part of its formal report, PJI analyzed criminal case filing data from Cuyahoga County from the years 2012 to 2015 in addition to conducting a jail population analysis of the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center and three smaller full-service municipal jails. Major findings from the report include:
- Despite a significant reduction in reported violent and property crimes from 2012 to 2015 (the last year of available statistics), and an even more significant decline in the number of criminal cases filed in both the municipal and county courts during this time, the county jail facilities did not see a commensurate reduction in the amount of jail bookings or average daily population of inmates.
- Twenty-eight percent (28%) of persons receiving a bond of $5,000 or less could not come up with $500 to pay a 10% bondsman’s fee and remained incarcerated until resolution of their case.
- Of those who were able to post their bond, thirty-eight percent (38%) spent over a week in jail before they could come up with the funds to secure their release.
- Twenty-five percent (25%) of persons accused with felony level crimes remained incarcerated during the entire pretrial period, with an average length of pretrial detention being 104 days.
- The remaining seventy-five percent (75%) of persons accused of felony level crimes were released from jail pretrial but spent an average of 17 days in jail prior to their release.
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