Bail Bond Reform Hurts American Taxpayers
Individuals are arrested every day. It could be for something they did or something they allegedly did. When this happens, people want to avoid spending time in jail. They want to be free to work on their legal defense and more. In many cases, this is accomplished by posting bail. If they can’t afford to pay bail, a bail bond agent can help.
Bail Bond Process
In most cases, a bail hearing is held to determine if someone’s situation qualifies for bail. If they do, a bail amount is set. A judge will consider a person’s mental, physical condition, ties to the community, financial resources, criminal history and more when determining bail and the amount. Once a bail amount has been set, a specific percentage of it must be paid to the court. When a person posts bail, they are released until their assigned court date. In this situation, awaiting trial in jail is avoided. If someone can t afford to pay bail, they can contact a bail bondsman. They will pay the court’s requested bail amount for a fee. Their fee is a percentage of the bail amount.
Elimination Of Cash Bail
California Money Bail Reform Act eliminates cash bail. In these situations, it will no longer be up to a judge to determine if someone is at risk to not return to court. A pretrial assessment is done on an individual who has been arrested. This assessment could be done by a local public agency or a court employee. They will determine if a defendant is a risk to not return for their trial date. A defendant will be given a high, medium or low-risk assessment. A person with a low-risk assessment, who has been determined likely to return for their court date, and not commit any new crimes, will be released. No cash is bail required. Defendants assessed to be high risk are not released.
Ambiguous Risk Assessment
In many cases, there is no state standard for risk assessment. According to the California Money Bail Reform Act, each individual court is responsible for developing its own risk-assessment system. This is what is used to determine if a suspect is to be released. This has shown to cause different courts to provide assessments of individuals that vary greatly. It is feared this could lead to a system involving discriminatory practices, result in huge costs to taxpayers and more.
A cashless bail system could result in an increased number of individuals being incarcerated. It creates a points-based system with a lack of accountability. A more conservative approach will be taken to avoid problems with a person’s release. This could cause more bureaucracy. Spending on pretrial incarceration could also result in huge costs to taxpayers
A cashless bail system is opposed by many members of law enforcement as well as judges. It takes the decision-making process away from experienced legal professionals. Important decisions on who should be released and who should not are based on a point system as well as algorithms. The lack of a judge’s experience and ability to read body language, as well as hear a defendant’s attitude concerning their charges, could lead to serious consequences. People who could be released may not and others who should be incarcerated may avoid being in jail, which will also lead to more spending on pretrial incarceration
The states that have gone to a cashless bail system are experiencing a wave of lawsuits. In many cases, the system of cashless bail has let people out who may have been denied bail by an experienced judge. Individuals have been let go after committing a crime and have gone on to commit crimes including assault, rape as well as murder. Victims have filed lawsuits for letting these criminals free to commit more crimes. Arrested individuals have also filed lawsuits because the criteria used to keep them awaiting trial in jail seemed prejudicial. These lawsuits have also resulted in huge costs to taxpayers
It will also have a negative impact on the economies where bail bond agencies operate. This could do away with jobs provided by the bail bonds industry. Bail bondsman, clerical employees, managers, administrators could lose their job and the money they spend in a local economy will also be eliminated. This includes money spent to rent office space, purchase meals at restaurants, accountant services, dry cleaners and more.
If society had no criminals, it would not need to have a criminal justice system. The dangerous and ugly aspects of it would not exist. That is not reality. It has taken a long time to create the current bail system. A system that has successfully dealt with criminals for a long period of time. It could be improved, but it may be foolish to think it can be replaced.