What is Secured Bail and Pretrial Services ??
I’ve been a bondsman for a number of years, and there’s always been a “fight” between secured bail and “pretrial services”. I’m writing this to educate anyone who takes the time to read this.
When a person gets arrested, sometimes the Court needs some assurance the defendant will appear at all scheduled court appearances. That’s where bail bondsmen/bondswomen play a crucial part of the Criminal Justice System. When someone’s released on a secured bond, we, as bondsmen guarantee the Court WE will pay the entire bail amount if the defendant doesn’t appear and we can’t deliver them back to the Court. It’s a financial contract between the Court and us. Most bonding companies, mine included, require family or someone close to the defendant, to sign a contract that basically says they’ll have to pay us back if we have to pay the Court. The bonding company and the “cosigner” all have something to lose if the defendant doesn’t keep their promise to the Court. There’s real incentive to MAKE the defendant keep his promise to the Court. If that’s not enough, and the defendant flees, THE BAIL BONDSMAN, will go after the defendant anywhere in the country and bring them back to the court. AT NO EXPENSE TO THE PUBLIC. Let’s say that again – NO FINANCIAL EXPENSE TO THE PUBLIC. We, bondsman, get the defendant off the streets as quick as possible AT OUR OWN EXPENSE.
Now, let’s talk about “Pretrial Services”. Most of the time when a defendant is released on an unsecured bond, it includes “pretrial services”. When a defendant is put on “pretrial services” they are required to “check in” every so often and take drug tests. That’s pretty much it. “Pretrial Services” does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to ENSURE THE DEFENDANT’S APPEARANCE IN COURT. If the defendant doesn’t appear in court, or fails a drug test, or violates their pretrial – “Pretrial Services” issues a violation to the Court. That’s it. Then, the warrant is given to the ALREADY OVERWORKED police department. ALL AT TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE. AGAIN – ALL AT TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE.
Pretrial Services argues that “secured bail makes it hard for poor people to make bail”. Another argument I’ve heard is “bail bondsman only do it for the money”. Well, I’m a bail bondsman and yes, I do get paid for my service. BUT SO DO THE EMPLOYEES WHO WORK FOR PRETRIAL SERVICES. THEY GET PAID BY THE STATE, FROM MY TAX DOLLARS. AND YOURS…
Bail bondsman DO NOT SET BOND AMOUNTS. The JUDGE SETS the bail based on many factors. If people don’t wanna sit in jail, DON’T BREAK THE LAW !!
Most of the bail bondsmen I know, CARE A GREAT DEAL ABOUT OUR CLIENTS. WE, BAIL BONDSMAN ARE THE FIRST RESPONDERS. I can’t speak for other bondsmen, but I have paid people’s rent. Bought diapers, toys, fixed windows, and helped clients get jobs. I have donated school supplies to numerous women’s shelters for the children in those shelters. I’VE DONE ALL THOSE THINGS AND MORE BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT MY CLIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES. BAIL BONDSMAN, ACROSS THE COUNTRY, PAY MILLIONS IN TAXES, AND PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT SERVICE AT NO EXPENSE TO ANYONE ELSE.
This shouldn’t even be a debate. It’s pretty simple and comes down to one question……DO YOU THE TAXPAYER, WANT TO PAY FOR PEOPLE TO BE RELEASED FROM JAIL WITH NO INCENTIVE TO RETURN TO COURT ??