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Commercial Bail Bonds Outperform Government Programs...And They Cost Taxpayers $0

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do you want your hard earned tax dollars to go towards helping those accused of a crime to be released for FREE?  We didn't think so.  Read Attorney Peter Antonacci recent response to an article posted in the Tampa Tribune entitled "Bail Bond Boondoggle." He sets the record straight and removes the facts from the fiction. 

Introduction writter by: Eric Granof

Read the article below.

Bail less costly for taxpayers, more effective
By PETER ANTONACCI | Special to The Tampa Tribune
January 16, 2012

In response to your editorial "Bail bond boondoggle," please consider a different point of view.

The essence of your editorial was that the bail industry is "pushing legislation that would curtail pretrial release programs that save tax dollars," and you make several errors supporting this assertion. There is no such bill being pushed by anyone this session.

You say that government-funded pretrial release "has been effective in saving tax dollars," when this is simply not factual. Since 2008, the cost to taxpayers to fund these services has grown from $26,500,000 to $31,000,000 (according to the state's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, or OPPAGA). This growth has persisted even while crime has steadily declined during that same period. To be clear, as crime rises or falls, so too should the cost of operating these programs. Instead, as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continues to report the steady fall in most types of crime, pretrial release programs continue grasping for more taxpayers' money.

You compare the cost of pretrial services to the cost of jail and then illogically conclude that requiring defendants to pay their own way (via bail) would cost taxpayers more money. It's like comparing an apple to a soggy gym sock … and it makes even less sense. The cost comparison should be to compare both forms of release: one is government-funded, which costs (according to OPPAGA) around $500 per defendant, while the other (bail) is funded by the defendants themselves and costs taxpayers absolutely nothing.

While you are correct that the measures in question would "restrict pretrial release to the indigent," you don't mention that this was the original intent of all of these laws: to provide these services to those who could not afford them. Perhaps it is best to think of these government-run, taxpayer-funded programs as welfare programs for the criminal class. Is it really a good idea to also offer these welfare programs to those who have enough funding to pay their own way out? Do we really need to keep expanding these government services to those who should pay their own ticket?

Original Article: Bail less costly for taxpayers, more effective