In recent years and months, the bail bond industry has come under fire for those calling for reform in the criminal justice system. And the bail bond industry has been referred to in very unflattering terms and very strong words. But most people forget that the bail bond industry has been a vital part of the criminal justice system for many years, and has, in fact, evolved along with it.
Essentially, bail bondsmen serve a need, and that need is very real in the realities of the criminal justice system. Just imagine what it would be like if there were no bail bond industry. Bail might be a right available to criminal defendants so that they could be released from detention pending trial, but this is a right that will be enjoyed only by those who could afford it. The result would be an unequal form of justice where only those who had money had the means to enjoy the rights that should be enjoyed by an accused person, regardless of financial circumstances.
Another vital contribution of the bail bond industry is to help the wheels of the criminal justice turn, even when the wheels may have gotten clogged with too many court cases. Courts across the country are handling numerous cases, their dockets are clogged, and judges are overworked. With the number of pre-trial detainees arrested, booked and detained every year, jails are becoming clogged with pre-trial defendants who have yet to see the inside of a court, who have yet to know what the charges against them are, and who have yet to learn that they are entitled to release on bail.
Without the services offered by bail bondsmen, the clogging of jails and detention centers would remain a reality despite the majority of those detainees having been granted bail by the court. The simple reason is that they could not afford it.
Bail bondsmen enable those who cannot afford it to satisfy their bail so that they could be released from jail pending the hearing, trial, and final disposition of their case. If the bail bond industry does not offer them this option, many of them will remain in jail simply because they have no choice. Penal institutions which are already suffering from overcrowding would suffer the consequences of too many warm bodies to a very uncomfortable degree. Fortunately, bail bondsmen have enabled a good portion of criminal defendants the ability to satisfy their bail, thus reducing the jail population by a very good portion. The cost of maintaining inmates and the jail population, which does eat up a good chunk of our taxes, is also reduced.
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