Push For Bail Reform In Nashville

Posted: 8:26 PM, Oct 18, 2017
Updated: 2017-10-18 21:38:49-04
Push For Bail Reform In Nashville

Numbers released from the Mayor's Office show that most people charged with misdemeanors never bond out before their case is resolved.

"The primary problem with a money bail system is that it simple keeps people in custody solely because they're poor, or living in poverty and they don't have the financial means to get out of custody," said Dawn Deaner, Public Defender.

Nearly 21,000 people were charged with misdemeanors in Nashville last year, but only 8,565 of those charged were able to post bond.

Leaving more than 12,000 people behind bars.

"The primary reason those individuals are staying in jail is because they just don't have enough money to pots their bail," said Deaner.

Allowing people to pay for their release seems to be unfair to people who don't have much cash, but the District Attorney disagreed.

"Some of those statistics can be misleading," said General Glenn Funk, Davidson County.

General Funk says many of the defendants in jail don't bond out, because they were never in jail for very long. Those that did stay longer, were facing more serious misdemeanors like domestic assault.

"Everybody that's just charged with a misdemeanor come to court the very next day. Most folks that have their case in front of a judge, either the bond gets reduced, resolved, or sometimes dismissed," said General Funk.

Bail reform has been met with heavy opposition, but something Deaner said is needed.

"If we see unfairness it's our responsibility to fix it," said Deaner.

If Nashville did go through a bail reform, it would save tax payers money if defendants were able to bond out faster.