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Pima County Attorney's Office rolling back cash bail

System will remain, as mandated by state law
Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 07:49:22-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Attorney's Office Tuesday released a set of policies aiming to roll back the use of cash bail in county courts.

In a news release Tuesday, the office said Pima County Attorney Laura Conover had reviewed six months of initial court appearance hearings and had drafted a philosophy aiming to end cash bail in the county.

The philosophy, according to the news release, is outlined as follows:

  • If the arrestee poses an ongoing threat of harm to the community, they should be held.
  • If the arrestee does not pose an ongoing threat of harm to the community, our prosecutors will recommend release from custody and articulate the conditions of release that will assist the person in returning for their next Court date.

While prosecutors are still required to issue cash bail by Arizona state law, the PCAO says their attorneys will only argue for high cash bonds when "an arrestee poses a risk to community safety." In situations where there is little or no risk to the public, "PCAO will argue for conditions of release that will best serve and protect Pima County," the news release says.

Conover added that this will help eliminate some of the financial disparities in the justice system.

"We've got problems on both ends of the system," Conover said. "We don't want the ability to pay either holding someone trapped in jail or either letting them right back in the community when they are indeed posing a danger."

Conover said that an added bonus of this plan is that the Pima County jail will have less people. Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos is on board with the idea.

"Right now, my jail staff is over worked," Sheriff Nanos said. "We're short staffed and we are overworked and it's costing the taxpayer $127 a day while an ankle monitor is $15 a day."

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover won a contested Democratic Primary for the position and an uncontested general election in 2020.