Archive for May, 2013

Bail Bonds and the Blame Game over Jail Overcrowding

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Bail bonds are an essential pretrial option offered by a bail bondsman in most states. Only four states, Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin, prohibit this option and are experiencing a much higher level of county jail overpopulation and higher costs for taxpayers covering the housing fees. Those defendants are stuck in jail, pending trial dates. The very nature of state statutes that disallow commercial bail bonding companies dictates a larger number of people without the money to pay the expected fees to the county they are jailed in.  This creates the misguided assumption that all people in jail are guilty and shouldn’t be allowed the freedom between the time arrested and their scheduled court case date. Those that are considered non dangerous could be released if the laws abolishing commercial bail bonding were overturned.

The other circumstances those four states are creating is the ease of bail jumping and landing in any of those states to evade court. This further works against the bail bondsmen, bounty hunters, and insurance companies and court systems. Making them unable to capture and ensure their return to court, per the agreement. Bail bonding companies should ensure their agreements restrict bonded individuals from running to these states as a breach in the contract and immediate recovery via the secured funding or property. This could further reduce the 30% that never appear in court.

States with pretrial services are the states with overcrowded jails, increased costs in housing people till trial date and lack the availability of bonding out after assessing their level of risk. L. A. County in California has more issues with transporting due to the distance of over 800 miles and inmates housed in county jails till transportation is arranged. Is that figure and problem part of the misrepresented “finger pointing” at bail bonding agencies rather than inefficient transportation issues that accommodate a large number of defendants going to majorly distant prisons?

All four states recoup fees from the government at a much higher rate than states that do allow commercial bail bonding. So is it the fact that those four states are financially benefiting from this; while excluding free enterprise that ensures lower rates are necessary to house defendants and inmates. Understanding there are other contributing factors to overpopulated county jails, also clarifies that there is greater reduction in costs for states allowing bail bondsmen agents.

Allow people the option and alternative to bail out rather than sit in jail for days or months, leading up to the trial date. Free enterprise is necessary to ensure the option. It creates a valid financial reason for defendants to appear in court; while ensuring their freedom and innocence till proven guilty. Commercial bail bonding is a business that also contributes to the community, the state and insurance companies and the court’s ability to collect fees from those defendants. It further reduces the necessary costs states require as reimbursement for housing, as well.