Bail Reform – Who’s paying?

As bail reform begins its campaign across America, it’s important to hear both sides of the story. While supporters of this reform will say they are saving tax payers $880,000, has anyone approving these new laws sat down with a bondsmen to discuss the reality and repercussions?

If you’ve never needed the services of a bondsmen or never been the victim of a crime in which the accused is up for bail, it’s easy to see why the new bail reform doesn’t seem so bad out the gates. But if you are familiar with the industry in the least bit, its many downfalls are quite obvious and can be broken down into three main points.

Under the new reform, criminals awaiting trial are released under taxpayer funded programs. If the accused had acquired bail through a private bail bondsman, it would have been funded by either himself, his family or friends and at no cost to the tax payers. Tax-payer funded bail – Point 1.

Taxpayer paid employees – Point 2. Reformers say they are saving tax payers $880,000 with these programs because paying for their release is less costly than paying to fund their incarceration. But what they are saying is that as a taxpayer, you are now funding the paycheck of the additional staff members needed to supervise and run the back-to-back pretrial hearings.

Flight Risks – Point 3. Part of acquiring bail through a private bondsman includes the duty of that bondsman to ensure the appearance of the released person in court. Under the proposed programs, if the criminal takes flight another warrant is issued. That’s it. Yet another warrant. No financial responsibility is placed on the criminal or on anyone for that fact. With a bondsman, if their client doesn’t show and they are unable to obtain them, there is up to a 100% fee that is paid to the county. BIG POINT.

While there are claims that under the new programs there is higher supervision of the released, there is no accountability. With a private bondsman, they themselves are held accountable financially and at the risk of their reputation as a company if the released doesn’t show.

While everyone could agree that some change will do the industry good, it’s important to scrutinize the change being proposed. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

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