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BAIL MONTH - FACT #8

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bail Month Fact #8 comes out of Harris County, Texas, from the former Director of Pretrial Services.  Charles Noble, held the position of Director, for over 14 years and during that time became very familiar with the commercial bail industry.  In April of 2010, Mr. Noble wrote a letter to Jerry Watson, Chief Legal Officer of AIA, the nation's oldest and largest underwriter of commercial bail bonds.  In the letter, Mr. Noble discussed his concerns about the lack of record keeping and reporting by pretrial service agencies all over the country.  As the Director of Harris County's agency, he was particularly diligent in not only keeping accurate numbers but reporting them in the most transparent way possible. 

Further on in the letter, Mr. Noble compares two types of release mechanisms that Harris County utilizes for defendants being released pretrial.  These consisted of Personal Recognizance Bonds (where the defendant is released through a pretrial services agency on his "promise" to reappear) and Financially Secured Commercial Bail Bonds (where the defendant's family puts up financial security gauranteeing the appearance of the defendant in court...or they pay the full amount of the bond).  When the two methods of release were compared in terms of performance (measured by FTAs), financially secured release outperformed pretrial services by 2 to 1.  These results were consistent for all three years addressed.

Bail Month Fact #8

Posted by: Eric Granof

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