The latest articles we’ve added here to the resources section of the Fred Frank Bail Bonds website have focused on a report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics that takes a true “deep dive” into the numbers behind the arguments for and against commercial bail and pretrial release programs. We’ve touched on many of the arguments that are made by proponents of bail reform and those who are against it, but in this post we’ll look more specifically at the common arguments on both sides.
Bail Reform and Jail Crowding
Commercial Bail Proponents: The primary argument put forth by bail agents and those supporting commercial bail is that defendants being released on bail via a bail bond reduces the pressure on jail populations.
Commercial Bail Critics: Many critics, on the other hand, argue that many defendants cannot afford a bail bond, and thus remain in jail and place upward pressure on jail populations.
Should Private Interests be Involved in Bail?
Commercial Bail Proponents: Private interests reduce taxpayer burdens for pretrial release and ongoing monitoring. Bail agents have a financial incentive to ensure that defendants do not become fugitives or, if they do, to find them and return them for their court date.
Commercial Bail Critics: Critics generally consider private industry to be untrustworthy and that they should not be involved in the decision-making process for detention/release.
What Does Commercial Bail Incentivize?
Commercial Bail Proponents: Argue that defendants return to court more often under commercial bail (which has been found to be true in the BJS study), and that this places less burden on the overall system and taxpayers.
Commercial Bail Critics: Argue that bail agents don’t actually pay the entire amount owed when bail forfeiture occurs, and that forfeiture does not always occur when it should, thus placing a greater financial burden on the system.
What is the Value of Commercial Bail?
Commercial Bail Proponents: Enables release of defendants who would otherwise be held in jail until their trials. This argument introduces the notion of bail agents as defenders or enablers of civil liberties, a claim that is often questioned by critics.
Commercial Bail Critics: Argue on behalf of indigent defendants, who they claim that such alleged offenders cannot afford bail in most instances. Those with the money for bail would be better off using that money for their legal defense.