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How many people who have cash bail imposed are unable to pay?
On Saturday, The Sentinel unveiled a new weekly chart that shows information about the five cases with the highest bail amounts entered into the system that week.
The chart provides information about the bail amount, the highest charge the defendant was facing, the defendant’s age and gender, the judge who assigned bail and whether the bail had been posted.
Also provided weekly is the percentage of cases filed that week that had cash bail imposed.
This prompted one reader to ask for more details on use of cash bail in the county.
In 2016 — the most recent full-year available — cash bail was imposed in about 1,400 cases, or roughly 28 percent of all new cases, according to analysis of court records conducted by The Sentinel.
In more than half of those cases, the defendant was unable to pay for their release, according to court records.
That is a total of just more than 800 cases, the analysis found.
Unsurprisingly, the inability to pay rose as the bail amount went up. About 57 percent of defendants with bail set at $1,000 or less were able to post bail, compared to 38 percent who had bail set between $10,000 and $25,000, and just 19 percent for those with bail set higher than $50,000, according to the analysis.
Roughly 8 percent of all cash bails in the county were set at $500 or less and nearly 11 percent were set at more than $50,000, according to court records.
For comparison, less than 1 percent of cash bail cases in neighboring Franklin County were set at $500 or less and more than 28 percent were set at more than $50,000, court records show.
More than 35 percent of all cases entering into the criminal justice system in Franklin County in 2016 had cash bail imposed, and defendants in less than 30 percent of cases were able to post bail, according to the analysis.
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