COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Do the crime, and soon, many offenders won't have to do the time. At least at first.
The program is called "Quick Bail, No Jail". Campbell, Boone and Kenton counties are just three of the nine Kentucky counties selected for the pilot program. If it works, the Kentucky Supreme Court says it could save the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars every year just by freeing up beds.
Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Will T. Scott is organizing the program. He said offenders will be able to post bond immediately, 24/7, and skip jail. That's because with the new system, Scott said there will be pre-set bond amounts for all of the eligible offenses. That means offenders won't have to wait for a judge.
There are 35-pages of offenses that make people eligible for the program. The list includes hundreds of non-violent crimes; everything from prostitution to stealing mail.
"This is supposed to speed up the process," Campbell County Jailer Greg Buckler said. "Get these low level misdemeanors and any felonies arrestees that come in, processed, and then back out as quickly as possible to make sure that the county has ample jail beds for the more serious offenders."
Kenton County Jailer Terry Carl said it'll save the state millions of dollars.
"We're trying to save as much money for the county and the citizens so they don't have to spend all the tax money into the jail," Carl said.
But safety is still number one for both those outside of and inside the jails.
"If you have somebody that's there on a non-violent property crime or traffic violation and not keep your detention center so full, it's safer for everybody," said Kenton Co. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jim Redwine.
Campbell, Boone and Kenton counties already have pre-sent bond limits in place for certain crimes. The current bond amounts range from $50 to $5,000. The new pre-set bonds will be a fraction of those amounts.
Buckler said he sees one downfall. Buckler said 17% of those arrested in Campbell County are from out of state. This program will not apply to them.
"We get a lot of people arrested from out of state," Buckler said. "This program only affects Kentucky residents."
Training begins next month. The pilot program starts January 1st and will last a year. There are still details to work out, but if the state decides the program is worth it, the Kentucky Supreme Court will implement the program statewide.
Detention centers in Bell, Boyd, Butler, Edmonson, Ohio and Pike Counties are also participating in the pilot program.