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Jail Population Decreases as the Use of Commercial Bail Increases

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC (Jan. 11, 2010) - A new study by the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) found the number of individuals who were held in jail decreased even through the use of commercial bail bonds has gone up. The overall jail population has decreased from 773,341 in 2007 to 760,400 in 2009.

Michael Hough, public safety resident fellow at the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) said, “This latest study disproves the myth that the use of bail bonds increases the number of people in jail.  We now know that this connection cannot be made.  The increased use of commercial bail can actually help to alleviate overcrowding in jails.”
 
This recent study coincides with an earlier DOJ study that found the percentage of individuals who were released from jail on commercial bail increased by 100 percent since 1992.  Today over 40 percent of individuals released from jail have done so on commercial bond.
 
The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, which lobbies for the abolition of commercial bail, released a report in 2009 claiming the pretrial jail population was rapidly increasing due to commercial bail. National Public Radio also made a similar argument in a three-piece report entitled, “Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed with Inmates.”
 
While the number of individuals in jail decreased from 2007 to 2009 the number of individuals in prison continued to grow.
 
Hough said, “Commercial bail is more widely used by local governments and judges because bondsmen are able to quickly free individuals from jail while holding them accountable to return to court to face justice. It is important to note that other factors like a declining crime rate also factored in to the lower jail population, put clearly the anti-private sector bail lobby will have to find something other than jail overcrowding to howl about.”

Original article: www.alec.org. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.

ALEC

Contact: Raegan Weber
Phone: 202-742-8536
Email: rweber@alec.org