The Iowa House has voted to end a pilot program that supporters say reduces the number of people who sit in jail while awaiting trial.
After a person was charged with a crime, officials in Woodbury, Polk and Scott Counties this year used a computer program called “Public Safety Assessment” to weigh the risk of releasing that person without requiring him or her to post a bond.
Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake, says some people who were released under that process should not have been released, including one in particular from Polk County:
OC……level of supervision.” :19
That person’s pre-trial monitoring was a once-a-month check-in call with a probation officer.
Major Tony Wingert oversees the Woodbury County Jail and says the county had just recently started participating in the program:
OC………see the questionaires. :07
Wingert says the Iowa Department of Corrections ran the program which helped some low-income people charged with a crime who couldn’t afford bail get released while they waited for their trial:
OC………..lower the bond. ;15
Representative Worthan says the non-profit group that owns the computer software won’t let legislators review how the program evaluates a prisoner and recommends a certain level of supervision:
OC……at this time.” ;14
The program saved taxpayers money by releasing low-risk people rather than racking up more than100-dollars-a-day keeping them in jail, waiting for their trial.