Wednesday, July 20, 2011

KY Supreme Court Bail Pilot Project Extended and Amended: A Program Coming to Your County

In 2009, the Kentucky Supreme Court Criminal Rules Committee recommended a 9-county piloting of a bail schedule to the Court. The goals were to increase release rates, to have release occur sooner for persons presumed innocent, and to save counties jail money.

The Kentucky Supreme Court in Administrative Order 2009-14 authorized a Bail Pilot Project in Bell, Boyd, Boone, Butler, Campbell, Edmonson, Kenton, Ohio and Pike Counties from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 and extended this program in Administrative Order 2010-12 through June 30, 2011. In Administrative Order 2011-05 it was again extended through June 30, 2012 for further study and the impact of HB 463 on it with some changes. These Administrative Orders effectively amend the bail rules, RCr 4.00 et. seq.

The 2011 changes include

  • Amended Uniform Schedule of Bail to be used in 9 counties except in Campbell "the class D felony Schedule shall not be used."
  • DUI 1st, AI, PI, Drinking in a Public Place and all violations have been deleted from the Schedule.
  •  A new "one bail for all" calculation of bail is made as follows: except where there is at least one Class D felony and the number of crimes charged exceeds five, the bail for all will be the one bail for the highest crime charged. 

The Schedule can be found here.

AOC continues monitoring the Schedule for performance. A new AOC Report will be out in October 2011. Crimes covered by the Schedule are non-violent, non-sexual and generally 1st offense only. A  Judge has the discretion to go below the Schedule. However, if a Judge goes above it, the reasons have to be recorded, creating a record for immediate appeal, if necessary.

The year-end analysis of the 9-county pilot reports pretrial incarceration time, failure rates, and cost savings to the counties. Justice Will T. Scott said that the Report "indicates that the Jailer operated Schedule practically ties Pretrial on reported Failure to Appear Rates (12% vs. 13%) and beats them by 2% on recidivism, while doing it on an average release time of 4 hours versus 35 hours for pretrial - even on Schedule qualified defendants. The statewide average is around 95-100 hours.  So generally, on the types of crimes the Court has limited the Schedule to, it is outperforming the science-based release practices. That's the success of the Schedule as I see it."

The Report also discusses the differing viewpoints on bail schedules:

"When discussing the concept of bail schedules in general, pretrial practitioners, judges and the public are split philosophically. Advocates for bail schedules cite the positive aspects such as monetary and time savings for pretrial staff, a faster release from jail and a higher percentage of releases overall. Those opposed to bail schedules cite the negative aspects such as risk to public safety due to the lack of a risk assessment being conducted, limited judicial discretion in bail decisions, a step away from the use of evidence based practices and unfairness to the poor."

The full Report can be found here.