With the over crowed jail population of many states being the target of certain human rights groups such as the ACLU, Arnold Foundation, and NAACP. These groups have set their sites on the bail bonding industry by saying that they “prey on those who can’t afford bail.” Some states have or will be going to a form of Bail Reform such as New Jersey, Alaska, parts of New Mexico, Texas, in a few months New York, in 2020 California is going to vote on it. Of the mentioned states, Alaska and Texas have since reversed their failed bail reform policy with other states considering doing the same.
As a current bail agent for twenty two years I have seen a lot over the years. I know many of you reading this will think I am biased on my stance on bail reform and to a point you are correct because I know our value to the public, but hear me out.
Can we both agree that a person is usually arrested when there is enough suspicion or evidence that a person has done something against our current laws? When this person is arrested they go before a judge/magistrate to determine the severity of the crime, risk to the community, and the risk of returning to court for trial. A judge is going to set a bond dollar amount that can be secured or unsecured at the discretion of the judge. At this point some of you are saying that there shouldn’t be a dollar amount attached to someones release but everyone has to be treated equally and how can you do that if some get out for free and some have to pay a bond? Some of you would say to let them all out for free because they haven’t been convicted of anything yet. Well our system will NEVER be completely fair for all but letting everyone out without some form of accountability is unacceptable. When a person is facing having to pay a bond they can pay the whole bond themselves and get it all back when they complete court or they can hire a bail bondsman and pay a percentage of the bond. When you hire a bondsman he or she is now being held accountable for that defendant to appear in court for all court dates until there is a final judgment on that person’s case. Do you know that some cases are continued for up to three years! During this period of time many things can happen and often these people relocate. Who is going to go find them in order for them to have their day in court? The police that originally arrested the person are restricted to their respective county or state and can’t cross those lines with the power to arrest BUT bail bondmen can. Do you know who pays the bill for state and local law enforcement, the taxpayers do! Do you know who pays for bail bondsmen to travel to all these different places to find and bring back these defendants to stand trial? It was paid by the people that posted bail originally and not the tax payers. Do you want to pay the bill for people to get out of jail that you don’t even know? When people subscribe to the Bail Reform idea that is exactly what you are doing. It has been proven in other states like Alaska and Texas that tried bail reform and returned to using secured bail bonds.
In the end someone has to pay the bill to to get things done. Im not saying that there can’t be some changes to the way things are done but I am saying the value of a bail bondsman far out weighs going to a system that allows everyone out of jail without any accountability. This debate is similar to the issue of healthcare in our country, should the government pay for it or should each individual cover the cost? We all know when the government picks up the bill its not really free! When considering whether or not to go to bail reform consider the victims of these cases, the community that they will be released into. You can’t always think with your heart when it comes to being fair to everyone involved in a situation with the law.