Kentucky Considers Bail Reform Legislation

The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee heard testimony last week from judges about the potential of bail reform.  Advocates of reform argue that judges need to take into consideration a person’s inability to pay when determining the appropriate bail amount.  Judges argue that they are already taking an individual’s situation into consideration when setting bail for a defendant.

The committee heard testimony from a number of parties in order to determine whether to move forward with bail reform legislation.  According to Spectrum News 1, judges who testified at the hearing were not proponents of completely eliminating the cash bond system.  They suggested that the problem with the criminal justice system stemmed from something much deeper than the cash bail industry: the “drug epidemic that is gripping Kentucky.”

One of the main concerns of judges was the proposed replacement for the cash bail system.  Kentucky is considering the use of a risk assessment program in lieu of cash bail.  Many judges feel that the risk assessment programs are inadequate replacements for a judge’s discretion leaving out key information or using biased data.

It is unclear how Kentucky will move forward in the future.  All parties can agree that there is a problem with our criminal justice system in America, the problem is how to fix it.


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