Crime is on the rise in America. Some blame illegal immigration, others the economy, and still others the left’s decision to hobble law enforcement and defund departments. Another seemingly contributing factor that has been blamed for higher criminal activity is the overcrowding of jails and prisons. However, there is another issue that may be overlooked: criminals not having to post bail.
Crime on the Rise
In Spokane County, Washington, hundreds of suspects accused of violent crimes were let out of jail without having to post bail. Records obtained by The Spokesman-Review revealed these crimes included rape, death threats, vehicular homicide, assaults, and molesting children, and the suspects were released on their own recognizance at least 665 times from Jan. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30 of this year. To break that down further, since 2021, there have been 33 times that defendants accused of rape were released without posting bail, and 19 of those cases involved children. During that time, 2,704 people accused of a felony were let out of jail, and of those, 235 were accused of class A felonies, which could result in lifetime sentences.
A study earlier this year published by Yolo County, CA District Attorney Jeff Reisig’s office showed that the Golden State’s violent crime tripled as the accused went free without posting bail. Reisig told Fox News:
“The impacts of zero bail on violent crime are obvious, and they’re horrific. I mean, we have more people being shot at, stabbed, assaulted, robbed, beaten. These are real victims – and the numbers are staggering under zero bail.”
The study suggests that suspects “released without bail were rearrested on 163% more charges than those who posted bail, and they reoffended 70% more often,” Fox reported. “Those reoffenses resulted in felony charges 90% more often – and they were accused of three times as many violent crimes.” Reisig backed that up, stating, “We saw violent crime going up as soon as zero bail was implemented in our county by court order. And despite all of our best efforts to try and stop the practice, we were forced to continue to do the zero-bail system, and we saw our communities suffer as a result.”
The report looked at the history of 595 people who were released in Yolo County without having to post bail. Of those, 420 were rearrested and 123 were arrested for a violent crime including attempted murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery, domestic violence, and carjacking.
Advocates for the no-cash bail policy say it is needed because the system is unbalanced. Those who have the financial ability can post their release while the poor have to remain behind bars. In 2022, there were about 100 charitable bail organizations in the country that helped people facing jail time if they couldn’t afford to pay for their own release. In Washington state, the Seattle-based Northwest Community Bail Fund (NCBF) claimed they could post bail for 80 to 90 defendants per month in certain counties.
Tiffany Wood of Seattle, who was a victim of domestic violence, told King 5, “I am all for social justice and helping underprivileged people, but why would they allow someone to get out who has committed violent acts against other people? And someone who has a long history of it?” Her ex-boyfriend had a criminal record at the time for domestic violence assault and violating several protection orders. He was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle and, despite his criminal record, the NCBF still bailed him out.
That violent criminals who have been charged with crimes – and know with almost certainty that they will be incarcerated when their trial date rolls around – would seize the opportunity for one more bout of mayhem was entirely predictable. That Spokane County’s authorities could not see this coming suggests they are either blinded by ideological headlights or believe that a few innocent lives are worth wasting in the name of appearing “balanced.”
As usual, it is the citizens of Washington who pay the ultimate price for this failed experiment in progressive values.