Georgia Doubles Down on Ban of Get-Out-Of-Jail Free Cards

Georgia Doubles Down on Ban of Get-Out-Of-Jail Free Cards

“The movement to eliminate bail was always misguided and has jeopardized public safety in many big cities. Let’s hope more states and cities follow Georgia’s lead.” – WSJ, Georgia Rethinks Easy Bail

For those of you wondering when the current crime wave is going to end, don’t count the Georgia legislature among you.  They are moving forward with policies they think will put an end this to new dare-we-say generational crime we are seeing.

As we have seen over the last several years, beginning with the experiment of free bail policies in New York City, these policies of get out of jail free, in the name of helping the poor, have unfortunately allowed repeat and emboldened career criminals to appear indigent and thus escape the need to have to post bail or stay in jail pending trial.

Georgia led a variety of states saying enough is enough, first by creating the term “Free Judicial Release.”  Why that term?  Because there are all kinds of manipulating the process when it comes to bail, including the concept of “unsecured bail,” where defenders are released with no security other than a pinky promise to appear in court – but under the guise of bail by attaching a bail amount to ultimately a free release.  To be fair to the public and the process, Georgia legislators said, let’s just call it what it is.  At the time, the legislature also said, we have a list of twenty of the worst crimes where we think security, i.e., not a “free judicial release,” is necessary to guarantee your appearance in court.

READ MORE: Georgia bill requiring cash bail for 30 crimes, including misdemeanors, heading to governor’s desk

Just this month, the legislature went forward with another list—this time a list of thirty additional crimes where you aren’t given a get-out-of-jail free card in Georgia.  While some may argue that is going too far, and the ACLU is of course saber-rattling with talk of a lawsuit, the reality is that requiring a secured release does not require judges to hammer defendants on bail.  It just says we are going to require you or your surety to post something.  You gotta have skin in the game so-to-speak.

While states are looking for solutions to target to repeat criminals, Georgia has come up with what is really a very simple floor for these dangerous criminals—they aren’t getting out of jail free without some assurance that they will show up for court and answer for the charges.

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: Georgia Rethinks Easy Bail

Published 2/12/2024

States are rethinking failed experiments in criminal-justice reform, and better late than never. Georgia is the latest to reverse a soft-on-crime policy by restoring cash bail for dozens of crimes, after dropping the requirement helped stoke a crime wave.


The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill this month to mandate cash bail for 30 crimes, including certain types of domestic violence, rioting and drug dealing. The change limits the power of judges to return arrested suspects to the streets without a pretrial deposit. The bill awaits a signature from GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who began an anticrime campaign last year by tightening sentences for gang-related offenses.


The new bail law is a quick reversal for Atlanta lawmakers, who in 2018 granted judges the power to release people arrested for most misdemeanors. Dispensing with bail was part of a package of reforms enacted under former GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, which also included tripling the threshold for felony theft. The GOP-controlled Legislature whooped these reforms through amid the relatively low-crime 2010s.


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