In New Jersey, a sort of Kafkaesque nightmare has arisen for those who worked in the bail bonds industry before the state passed money bail “reform” in 2017. You see, these bail bondsmen can no longer ply their trade, because their industry has essentially been abolished. And never mind the harm this has done to those waiting in jail without the opportunity for bail, or for the communities that have been ravaged by those who have been released without bail and gone right back to the nefarious practices that got them in lockup in the first place.
This situation is even stranger. Bail bondsmen in New Jersey can no longer produce revenue by writing new bonds, but they are still responsible for the bail bonds they issued in the past. Noted long-time bondsman Kirk Shaw:
This is what I have been doing for 37 years and I don’t know anything else. You still have to chase your fugitives — it’s worse than just going out of business.
Lou Turdo once owned Big Lou’s Bail Bonds and employed 10 people now now works for the city of Secaucus. So much for creating jobs – Lou’s shop had to ax 10 of them because of the new law. Says Turdo:
It’s like having a bar and all of a sudden they pass a law saying no alcohol can be served. What are you going to do, stay open for people who still have a tab?
As it turns out, that’s precisely what the state of New Jersey has mandated. Jeff Clayton, director of the American Bail Coalition, notes that the industry is almost entirely gone in New Jersey, where once it flourished. Thousands of jobs have dried up as a result. Notes Clayton:
They are certainly closing up shop and going into other businesses. It was just unfortunate that some compromise couldn’t be reached.
Indeed, compromise seems the last thing on the minds of the single-minded reformers who are determined to see bail reform take hold even in the face of evidence that it’s bad for the their states and the U.S.