Florida Rejects Bail Reform Legislation
Earlier this year, the Florida legislature rejected bail reform legislation that would have eliminated the state’s cash bail system. Senate Bills 484, 1218 and 1392 opted to replace the current bail system with risk assessment programs similar to New Jersey and New Mexico. The risk assessment programs work off of an algorithm designed to predict the likelihood that a defendant will be a risk to society. The programs decide if someone is to be released without conditions such as bail or if they should be released and monitored. Posting monetary bail would be all but eliminated under the proposed legislation.
Along with other states such as Utah, Florida became the latest to completely reject the notion that eliminating cash bail would somehow fix the present injustices in our criminal justice system. Many who voted against the legislation questioned the accountability of such programs. Not only are defendants released prematurely and committing additional crimes as has been noted repeatedly in states that have implemented such reform but the burden of monitoring those defendants is now placed on an overstrained court system. The financial burden also shifts from a private industry to tax payers.