Issue 1: To Require Courts to Consider Factors like Public Safety when Setting the Amount of Bail (2022)

Issue 1: To Require Courts to Consider Factors like Public Safety when Setting the Amount of Bail (2022)

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) is a nonprofit organization that partners with policymakers and other stakeholders engaged in the policymaking process to provide the independent and nonpartisan analysis needed to create evidence-informed state health policy. Since voters are policymakers in the case of a ballot initiative, HPIO created this resource page to make information on state Issue 1 easily accessible. The links to analyses and references contained on this page are for educational purposes only and do not reflect the views of HPIO, including HPIO staff, board members and funders. If you have resources you would like to suggest for inclusion on this page, please contact Nick Wiselogel, HPIO’s Vice President of Strategic Communications.

UPDATE: On Nov. 8, 2022, Ohio voters approved State Issue 1 with 78% of the vote.

Background

On Nov. 8, 2022, Ohioans voted on Issue 1 – a ballot initiative that would amend the Ohio Constitution and change the way that bail considerations are made in the state. The amendment, if passed by Ohio voters, would add language to the Ohio Constitution that would:

  1. Require Ohio courts to consider public safety when setting bail amounts, including the seriousness of the offense, a person’s criminal record, the likelihood a person will return to court, and any other factor that the Ohio General Assembly may prescribe.
  2. Remove the requirement that the procedures for establishing the amount and conditions of bail be determined by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The current Ohio Constitution (Article IV, Section 5(B)) requires the Supreme Court of Ohio to adopt rules governing practice and procedure of Ohio courts. Given this requirement, the Court has adopted Criminal Rule 46, which governs pretrial release and detention of criminal defendants. If approved by voters, the Constitution would be revised so that the Court no longer has authority over bail conditions, and that power would be given to the Ohio General Assembly.

Ballot initiative process: General Assembly-initiated amendment

Issue 1 is a General Assembly-initiated constitutional amendment. It was placed on the November 2022 ballot as a result of House Joint Resolution 2 (HJR 2), which was sponsored by Ohio Representatives Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) and D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) and passed by the General Assembly on June 1, 2022.

The Ohio Constitution (Article XVI, Section 1) allows the General Assembly to initiate constitutional amendments as a way of proposing changes to the state constitution. Unlike citizen-initiated ballot initiatives, there is no requirement for collecting voter signatures. Instead, the legislature must pass the joint resolution (in this case, HJR 2) by a three-fifths majority and then file the resolution with the Secretary of State 90 days before the election.

For more information on General Assembly-initiated constitutional amendments, see this resource from the Ohio Secretary of State.


Connections between criminal justice and health in Ohio

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

HPIO’s recently released policy brief Connections between criminal justice and health: Pretrial incarceration and the bail system includes research that indicates that money bail negatively affects the health, safety and well-being of incarcerated people, their families and their communities. Poor jail conditions, such as overcrowding, lack of sanitation and inadequate nutrition, contribute to poor health among people in jail, and pretrial incarceration exposes more people to these effects.

Pretrial incarceration is costly to those incarcerated and to Ohio taxpayers. Ohio’s money bail system incarcerated nearly 12,600 Ohioans on a single day and cost $266 million in 2018. Analysis from 2019 found that approximately 150,000 people are booked into local Ohio jails each year. The number of Ohioans incarcerated pretrial has increased since 2016, and 61% of people in local jails have not been convicted of a crime.

For more information on the connections between criminal justice and health, see the following HPIO publications: 


Research and analysis of Issue 1


Media coverage


Positions

 Proponents

Opponents