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Bondsmen Aren’t Magicians…They are Just Good at Making Defendants Appear

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bail MagicWhat happens when a defendant who is released from jail before their trial takes off and disappears?  That is a really good question and one that many people don’t think about…unless of course you are a victim of a crime or a bail bondsmen.

There are several different ways that a defendant can be released from jail pretrial once a judge has determined them not to be a flight risk or a danger to the community.  One way they can be released is through a public sector pretrial services program.  This is a taxpayer funded program that releases individuals eligible for pretrial release for free with just a promise to return to court.  In theory, these programs are supposed to provide supervision, but in reality they don’t.  Based on countless studies by both the public and private sector, these programs have some of the poorest appearance rates of any other form of release.  A key cause of these poor appearance rates is the lack of accountability that exists among both the defendant and the public sector employee who is supposed to be supervising them.  Neither party in this scenario has any incentive to show up for court.  The public sector pretrial employee gets paid a salary to show up for work.  They clock in and clock out at the end of the day.  There is no vested interest by that employee to ensure that the defendant shows up for court because either way the employee gets paid.  Additionally, the defendant has no incentive to show up for court because he knows the public sector employee has nothing at stake and they know that no one will come after them if they don’t appear. 

Another way that defendants can be released pretrial is through a private sector commercial bail bondsmen.  By purchasing essentially an insurance policy binding the defendant (and his or her family/indemnitor), the bail bond agent, and the court together into a financial contract, there is both incentive and accountability present for the defendant to show up for court…and typically they do.  In the rare instances that they don’t show up, unlike the public sector example, the commercial bail agent will go and get them.  Just check out this recent story on a child molester that was released on bond.  When he didn’t show up for court, the bail agents jumped into action.  Even when he faked his own death, the bail agents didn’t give up.  Ultimately they captured the guy and in the process, brought justice to his victim and probably prevented others from becoming victims.  It’s not magic, it’s not luck…it is good old fashion accountability and standing behind your promise.

So the next time someone tells you that public sector pretrial programs are the answer to the challenges facing the criminal justice system, ask them one simple question.  When someone doesn’t show up, who goes and gets them.  The answer is no one.  Ask that same question to a bail agent and you will get a much different answer, and one that will probably let you sleep much more easily at night.  Read the original story below.

Original article: John Charles Price – Bondsmen Perform Resurrection

Posted by: Eric Granof

Below are links to several important bail bond facts:

Bail Bond Fact #1
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Bail Bond Fact #19

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