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Police and prosecuters work together

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Repeat offenders and crowded jails are problematic for our criminal justice system, but a partnership between police and prosecutors is slowly making a difference.

Chronic offenders are now more likely to have a higher bond set during a first appearance, keeping them in jail and off the streets before trial.

Armed with all the facts, the DA’s office makes its recommendation for an alleged criminal’s bond. “We’re seeing a lot more people who used to be out of jail that are now in custody pending their trial because they’re first appearance has the effect of raising their bond,” said District Attorney Ben David.

But it wasn’t always that way. Many times those who are bonded out, offend again.

Brian Pettus of the WPD said, “There are plenty of times when we’ve arrested people over and over again while they’re pending trial.”

Allan Rickenbacker is one of those examples. He pleaded guilty this week to more than seventy felony charges, ten of which were for breaking and entering. He committed many of these while out on bond.

An intentional side effect of the program is also freeing up over-crowded jails. While the prosecutor can determine who is a danger to society and up their bond, the DA’s office takes a suspect with a low bond out of the jail, and the more dangerous suspect behind bars.

The need for this program was brought on by an overcrowded system. Too often small details of a case slip through the cracks, the DA’s office doesn’t know about them, and a suspected criminal can bond out only to repeat offend. But Ben David said, it’s one of the most effective programs and partnerships that have been created in the past several years.

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Story summary

videoRepeat offenders and crowded jails are problematic for our criminal justice system, but a partnership between police and prosecutors is slowly making a difference.

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