Tonight's Cover Story: New bail rules target worst offenders

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The court system in Mecklenburg county is changing the way it deals with people who commit crimes.

In an effort to better protect the community and reign in jail overcrowding Mecklenburg magistrates and judges will change the way they set bail.

Magistrates and judges will be given more information about an offender's convictions and whether he/she has any pending charges, had any problem with drug use or been a member of a gang.

Advocates for the new policy say it will give officials more insight into how high a bond amount should be set, in other words linking bond amounts to the level of risk an offender poses to the community.

The way it is now magistrates and judges may often set bond at the minimum level and a defendant who's able to come up with the resources can post bail and get out of jail.  While at the same time an individual facing a minor charge who poses no risk to the community may not be able to meet bail and consequently takes valuable jail space.

In tonight's Cover Story at 7pm we'll outline the new guidelines and hear why many think the new guidelines will help curb what some have called the revolving door of justice in Mecklenburg county.