Study: 70% of Suspects Freed from Jail Without Bail Arrested for More Crimes
More than 7-in-10 criminal suspects released from jail without bail go on to be rearrested for allegedly committing more crimes, a new study reveals.
In early 2020, amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the California Judicial Council required counties to enforce an “emergency bail schedule” which effectively released thousands of criminal suspects from jail without having to pay bail under the guise of reducing prison overcrowding.
“This program designated that the bail for select crimes was dramatically reduced, many to zero dollars,” county officials state.
Yolo County, California, in particular, kept the $0 bail policy in place until June 2021 when the county’s Superior Court enacted a new bail schedule.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, in analyzing release and arrest data during the period where the $0 bail policy was enforced, finds that more than 70 percent of those who were released without bail went on to be arrested for additional crimes.
The analysis also compared recidivism rates over an 18-month period, finding that 78 percent of suspects released without bail were found to be rearrested for crimes while only 46 percent of those who paid bail were rearrested.
“The results of this recent study on the actual impacts of zero bail policies clearly demonstrate that victimization dramatically increases, and public safety is significantly compromised, when bail is eliminated as a tool for use by the courts,” Yolo District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a statement.
In total, nearly 600 suspects were released from jail without bail while Yolo County had the $0 bail policy in place. Of those, 420 went on to be rearrested for various crimes including 369 misdemeanor charges and 328 felony charges.
“A 163% increase in total crime and a 200% increase in violent crime by arrestees released on zero bail, when compared to those released by the courts on traditional bail, is the type of compelling data that should drive future discussion on any contemplated bail reform,” Reisig said.
Many of those suspects freed without bail were rearrested for violent crimes including homicide, rape, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, and domestic violence.
The study is a warning call for states like New York, where crime has skyrocketed in recent years, with cashless bail policies that prevent judges from holding many suspects in jail while pending trial.
Similarly, in Illinois, a statewide law passed by Democrats to abolish bail is currently being challenged in the courts. Opponents of the law have said it would descend the state into “The Purge,” a reference to the horror movie where citizens are allowed to commit crimes for a full 24 hours without consequence.