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Jails Crowded In Chicago? But Wait…They Don’t Have Commercial Bail in Illinois

Friday, April 26, 2013

crowded jailsFor years opponents of the commercial bail industry have stood in front of key stakeholders in the criminal justice system and have pointed the finger at the commercial bail bond industry claiming that it is the cause of jail overcrowding.  They state that people are sitting in jail, languishing away because they can’t afford a bail bond.   Well here is a newsflash….seriously….it really is a news flash…it was in the news today.  The city of Chicago (Cook County) in the state of Illinois has jail overcrowding.  But wait…you are probably asking yourself, how could the jails be crowded in Chicago?  They don’t allow commercial bail in Illinois.  EXACTLY!  In fact, if anything Chicago could probably use some commercial bail bond agents to help make pretrial release more affordable for defendants and their families and to ensure that those that are let out actually are held accountable and show up for court.  Instead of just relying on electronic monitoring as a solution, the state should examine more evidenced based practices like commercial bail as a way to alleviate jail overcrowding and lower recidivism.  Check out this recent article from the Chicago Tribune talking about this growing problem.

By the way, just for the record, Oregon, Kentucky and Wisconsin are also facing similar jail overcrowding challenges.  And yes, just like Illinois, none of these states allow  commercial bail either.  Maybe it is time to stop pointing the finger at the bail industry as the problem and cause of jail overcrowding, but rather see the long time industry as a potential solution.  A solution that doesn't cost the county any taxpayer dollars..

Original Article: Common sense locked out in Cook County Jail dispute

Written by: Eric Granof

Image from Texas Tribune