By John Binder
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), running against Republican J.D. Vance for Ohio’s open United States Senate seat, once pledged to free a million inmates from prisons across the nation.
In 2019, while vying for his party’s presidential nomination in the Democrat primary, Ryan told the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that he would free half of all inmates sitting in U.S. prisons and jails if he were president.
“You’ve made an ACLU commitment to reduce mass incarceration by 50 percent during your presidency,” ACLU of New Hampshire Political Director Jeanne Hruska reminded Ryan during a question-and-answer event.
When asked how he would free about a million of the roughly two million inmates in United States prisons and jails, Ryan suggested starting with drug laws by cutting penalties and sentences.
During the same event, Ryan said he supports “eliminating” cash bail for suspects accused of crimes — a policy position that would mimic New York’s law that regularly frees from jail suspects accused of violent crimes, and Illinois’s upcoming law that abolishes cash bail altogether, set to free thousands of inmates accused of murder, burglary, and other crimes.
“The bail system is inherently unfair,” Ryan said. “… so I would be for eliminating it.”