COLUMBUS—Today Representatives Leland and Hillyer introduced changes to House Bill 315, legislation that reforms Ohio’s use of cash bail. Statewide bail reform advocates, including the ACLU of Ohio, Americans for Prosperity Ohio, Arnold Ventures, the Bail Project, The Buckeye Institute, Ohio Conservatives for Bail Reform, and Justice Action Network, issued a joint statement expressing their steadfast support for the bipartisan effort to enhance public safety and end wealth-based detention that has been years in the making. HB 315 was introduced on May 18, 2021 and is now before the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee.
The aforementioned organizations also stand united against recently introduced House Bill 607 and House Joint Resolution 2, misguided and unnecessary efforts that will harm Ohioans. Passage of HB 315 is the true solution to balancing the rights of the accused with public safety.
Substitute House Bill 315 will:
- Shift the timelines for an initial release opportunity from 24 to 48 hours and the conditions of release hearing from 48 to 96 hours.
- Clarify situations that permit the revocation of bond.
- Make changes to offenses eligible for preventative detention.
“On any given day, as many as 12,000 people in Ohio’s jails have not been sentenced. Many of these individuals languish simply because they cannot afford their money bond, creating a two-tiered system of justice in which those who can afford to purchase their freedom go home to their families and communities, and those who cannot are forced to stay behind bars. Ohio needs HB 315. Ohio needs bail reform, now,” noted Patrick Higgins, policy counsel for the ACLU of Ohio.
“A bipartisan group of legislators and ideologically diverse organizations have been working diligently throughout this General Assembly to address the pretrial justice process in Ohio and its over-reliance on cash bail. As reflected in today’s acceptance of substitute bill language in Senate committee, they’ve correctly identified that the best legislative pathway toward achieving increased public safety is to give judges more tools to detain individuals that may pose a risk to public safety, and create a fairer pathway to release for people who are not a risk. HB 315 does precisely this. Americans for Prosperity - Ohio stands with the sponsors of HB 315 (Reps. Leland & Hillyer) and SB 182 (Sens. McColley and S. Huffman) and this coalition of organizations that are supporting their legislative efforts. Any attempts to address pretrial justice that don’t acknowledge cash bail has failed to keep communities safe and has ruined lives of innocent people is doomed to fail,” offered Jeff Dillon, Ohio Legislative Director, Americans for Prosperity – Ohio.
“Amending the state constitution should never be undertaken lightly nor hastily. If the legislature intends to put the proposed constitutional amendment before Ohio voters this fall, it should immediately pass HB 315 and SB 182, exercising the very legislative authority the proposal espouses,” offered Micah Derry, Campaign Director for Arnold Ventures.
"Poverty is not a crime. Yet, Ohio spends over $200 million annually to incarcerate people who are awaiting court dates in jail because they can't afford bail. This two-tiered system disproportionately harms Black and brown communities and this bill helps ensure that thousands of low-income Ohioans will no longer be subjected to unnecessary pretrial incarceration and the family separation, trauma, and loss of employment that come with it. We applaud the bill sponsors for introducing legislation that protects the presumption of innocence and due process rights through the creation of important procedural safeguards that ensure that the use of cash bail is no longer a proxy for automatic jail without trial," added Jeremy Cherson, senior policy advisor for The Bail Project.
“House Bill 315 helps Ohio move away from a counterproductive overreliance on a cash bail system that allows violent criminals to buy their way out of jail. By reforming cash bail, Ohio will better ensure public safety and provide greater fairness and due process for the accused,” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute.
“Substitute House Bill 315 demonstrates what thoughtful, conservative-led bail reform should look like in Ohio. It focuses on public safety, fairness and accountability. We commend Representatives David Leland and Brett Hillyer for their diligent work and taking an inclusive approach that makes HB 315 the best path for reform of the bail system in Ohio,” said Michael Hartley, Executive Director of Ohio Conservatives for Bail Reform.
Polling from The Tarrance Group, released in 2021, reveals that Ohioans overwhelmingly support bail reform policies, and 69% of those polled believe in creating a release path for most people to go home the same day as their arrest if they do not pose a flight or safety risk. Furthermore, by implementing policies in line with this new legislation, bail reform would save Ohio $199 to $264 million each year.
Representatives David Leland and Brett Hillyer along with Senators McColley and Steve Huffman, and 46 cosponsors are leading this effort. Bail reform will undoubtedly help families and communities maintain stability. Over 70 organizations and individuals support these efforts across Ohio.