Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Post Bail & Stay In Jail

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City jails to improve flawed bond system

“I know it happens,” Austin told Columbia City Council on March 19, “because I’ve had to intervene in the past"



State Representative Todd Rutherford (D-Richland) expressed concern about Columbia’s current bail bond system during a March 16 NAACP meeting, City Manager Charles Austin said. Rutherford worries that bond information is not readily available during nights and weekends, which causes recently-bonded arrestees to spend an extra night in jail.
“I know it happens,” Austin told Columbia City Council on March 19, “because I’ve had to intervene in the past [when someone had made bond but remained in custody]. It makes no sense at all.” A new policy would require the chief administrative judge and all other judges to keep release forms accessible at all times so people who have posted bond can be immediately released.
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine motioned for an immediate vote on the policy so it would go into effect immediately, “at five o’clock tonight.”
“This is a serious matter for all of council,” Councilman Kirkman Finlay III said. “These are they types of things we’ll get called on as a city and as council members. This is a major concern.”
The city has made a 24-hour telephone response desk available for bond information at: 545-3500.

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