Public Announcements


    Ohio House Bill 439 – Representatives Dever & Ginter

    Ohio Bail Agents Association Response

    • OBAA is opposed to any use of a validated risk assessment tool or “black box” as a blanket mechanism to allow criminal defendants to leave jail for free.

    • There is a lack of definition of the “validated risk assessment tool.” There is no definition for any criteria for the tool; it is instead left up to the Criminal Sentencing Commission – which is a non-judicial arm. There is no codified definition, parameters for criteria, methods by which an entity or person could appeal, or requirements the process is open.

    • Risk assessment tools are incapable of factoring “failures to appear”– as the data is not available consistently county to county.

    • Risk assessment tools rely on information provided by the defendant – often incorrect or not the whole picture, bad information into the tool = bad result from the tool.

    • Police officers issue summons for offenses they see as nonviolent or not worthy of jail bed space immediately – risk assessment tools are disasters for police officers – often releasing an offender hours after an arrest.

    • The impact of the legislation limit judges’ discretion and practically eliminates money bail as an option for judges unless a person fails the risk assessment tool.

    • The legislation eliminates bond schedules – the practical impact is crowded jails and inability for those who can post bond to do so. Bond schedules are mandated monetary amounts for release when judges aren’t available to set bond (i.e. Friday night). The bond schedule is eliminated and replaced with a “validated risk assessment tool.”

    • The costs to implement H.B. 439 are unknown and would likely be very expensive. According to the LSC fiscal analysis, “common pleas, municipal, and county courts generally will incur significant annual costs..”

    • Counties currently input “failures to appear” or “FTA” data into their own county databases. This data is not automatically stored or inputted into Ohio LEADS – this problem exists today as information is not widely accessible. Decisions are best made with all information available – a risk assessment tool would only exacerbate this existing issue.

    • H.B. 439 specifically prohibits excessive bail designed to detain the accused – this is a redundant provision as it is already in both the United States and Ohio Constitution. Black box algorithms are not solutions to excessive bail.

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