Letter to the Editor: Vote NO on Issue 1

On the ballot, it sounds like a sweet thing, like common sense, something everyone can get behind. It says: “Require Ohio courts, when setting the amount of bail, to consider public safety, including the seriousness of the offense, as well as a person’s criminal record, the likelihood a person will return to court, and any other factor the Ohio General Assembly may prescribe.”
     So what’s the problem?  The problem is that Issue 1 adds “public safety” to the determination of how much money I pay to get out of jail. In other words, If I may be considered a public safety risk, getting out of jail depends on how much money I have.
     Issue 1 doesn’t make communities safer. It disadvantages poor and minority citizens and communities. And what happens if I’m kept in jail?  I can lose my job, my house, my car, custody of my children, my health. My family and community suffers.
     Currently, the amount of cash bail is set for one purpose: to ensure appearance at trial.  It’s based on how much it will take, given my financial resources, my criminal record and the seriousness of my offense, to ensure that I appear. Not to keep me in jail. 
     Currently, without Issue 1, if I’m possibly a danger to the public, the judge holds a hearing on whether restraints, other than cash bail, are needed. If I’m found to be dangerous, the judge can place restrictions on me, ranging from pretrial detention in severe cases, to monitoring devices, required counseling, or restrictions on my activities and/or contact with particular persons.  
     There is need for bail reform, and there is a bipartisan group in the Ohio legislature that has worked for some time on fine-tuning the system. Bipartisan. Issue 1 bypasses that effort. 
     So why is Issue 1 on the ballot? Republicans in both chambers of the Legislature hastily drew up this proposal in a get-out-the-vote effort directed at Republicans and other voters susceptible to fear mongering about crime. Never mind whether it makes sense or upholds justice.
     How much money we have is not what should determine whether we can be released before trial. It puts a price on safety and circumvents serious measures to ensure safety:  If I’m rich, I can pay, no matter how dangerous I may be.  
     And while we’re at it, vote NO on Issue 2, which is unnecessary, promoted and supported by dark money interests, locks in a 30-day period when registration is disallowed before elections, (the harshest such rule in the country), and threatens our 17-year-olds’ longstanding right to vote in primary elections, if they will turn 18 by general election day.

Nancy Pierce

We are interested about hearing news in our community! Let us know what's happening!

Get in touch and share a story!

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top