Bail Reform

It’s no secret that our criminal legal system gives preferential treatment to the rich. Our cash bail system is a perfect example of this: Before a person is convicted of anything, their freedom relies on their ability to secure funds and pay bail. This flawed system results in the imprisonment of defendants awaiting trial simply because they are poor.

TIMELINE: What happens in the 24 hours after someone is arrested

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center has proudly worked on local and statewide bail reform efforts since 2015. In Hamilton County, OJPC is part of a coalition of advocacy groups and legal professionals who want to reform bail practices so that safety and fairness — not money — determines freedom. OJPC has also participated in discussions of bringing a bail fund to Cincinnati, we’ve held informational sessions for community members and trainings for lawyers who want to ensure fairness for their clients.

This work has produced some local results, including a motion passed by the Cincinnati City Council to increase the number of people who are released on their own recognizance (O.R.) before trial.

We’re always looking for more people to join our discussion about bail, and we want to hear your stories if you’ve been affected by the cash bail system, in Hamilton County or anywhere else in the state. If you have a story to share, please email