MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County commissioners are calling for more information when it comes to setting bail for those accused of a crime.
Commissioner Mick Wright has been outspoken when it comes to bail for accused criminals, saying that something has to be done to address what he calls a “crime wave” and repeat offenders.
Wright said in a commission meeting Wednesday there was a resolution passed in August calling for a twice annual reporting of bail-setting data. Commissioners want to see more of that data.
Wright called this a bi-partisan issue, and said the data is needed now. It’s not just commissioners who want answers, but the state as well. he said.
“When it comes to the judicial commissioner program, the County Commission needs to know how that program is operating because we fund the program and we create those positions in the first place,” Wright said. “So the County Commission is charged with making sure that that program is working as it’s intended, and is it keeping the public safe? If not then we need to take steps, but we have no way to measure that right now.”
He says the things they’re asking for and have asked for are: The number of people arrested; a breakdown of the initial screening from the judicial commissioner; bail amounts for people being released; and subsequent charges.
But he says that hasn’t happened. Other commissioners had questions too.
“The core of this is just getting transparency and data, and you can’t really make good policy decisions unless you know what is actually happening,” Commissioner Michael Whaley said.
Recently, commissioners also signed off on having only judges in the county sign off on bail for Class A and B felonies and some assaults. That will go into law statewide in July.