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Cover photo of HPIO publication: Connections between criminal justice and health: Pretrial incarceration and the bail system.

Connections between criminal justice and health: Pretrial incarceration and the bail system

September 8, 2022

This brief was financially assisted by the Ohio State Bar Foundation

 


Every Ohioan wants to live in a community that is safe, provides opportunities for good health and where their families can flourish. For several years, policymakers across Ohio have been engaged in bipartisan efforts to reform the money bail system with the goal of increasing safety and justice in Ohio communities. This policy brief examines the impacts of pretrial incarceration on individuals and communities, describes the current state of pretrial policy in Ohio and promising bail alternatives in other states and provides state and local policy options to reform the money bail system, including options for courts, local governments, prosecutors and the state legislature. 

 

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3 Key findings for policymakers

  • Pretrial incarceration leads to negative outcomes. Incarceration before conviction often harms individual and community health, safety, family well-being and financial stability.
  • Ohio’s current bail system is unfair and inequitable. Money bail, which incarcerates people pretrial based on their ability to pay for release, is a barrier to justice for many Ohioans, especially Black Ohioans and those with low incomes.
  • Evidence-based reforms exist. State and local governments across the country have made changes to their pretrial systems, and research shows promising results.

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