This originally appeared on Cleveland.com on Jul 26, 2020.
CLEVELAND — Our country is at a crossroads, forced to recognize that the police charged with keeping us safe often act as state-sanctioned vehicles of violence disproportionately perpetrated against communities of color.
Around the world, people are taking to the streets to call out the state-sanctioned violence against people of color that has been normalized and protected in this country since its inception. While police continue to respond to protests against police violence with police violence, other parts of our criminal legal system continue to steal the lives of people of color through different means.
Ohio has one of the largest combined jail and prison populations in the country. (Jail is where people are held pretrial or serve time for misdemeanors, while prisons are where people serve time for felonies.) Pre-pandemic, on any given day, over 70,000 individuals were held behind bars, with around 50,000 people in prison, and around 20,000 people in jail.
Ohio needs REAL bail reform. Every day in Ohio, thousands of people are kept behind bars, not because of what they have done, but because of what they don’t have. Our state’s overreliance on cash bail sets up a two-tiered system of justice in which those who can afford to buy their freedom go home, and those without deep pockets are pointlessly forced to languish behind bars.
Why is Criminal Rule 46 important?
Criminal Rule 46 is the Rule of Practice and Procedure that provides all state courts with instructions regarding bail-setting procedures. This Rule therefore has the opportunity to implement bail reform across the state of Ohio.