It has been a while since I commented to the subject of Bail Bonds. Most people do not care and certainly do not understand how they function. In some ways I see analogies with the world of Pay Day loans. It is easy to bash them as a tool to pick on the poor, who in their right mind would take out a loan with a 230% APR? The truth is a Pay Day loan has a life span of a couple of weeks. If your car needs fixing and you have poor credit the bank will laugh at your request for $300. The Pay Day loan company will give you the $300 and two weeks later (on pay day) cash your post dated check for $330.
Hey $30 your car is fixed, you kept your job, I doubt you have anything but nice things to say about Pay Day loans.
When it comes to Commercial Bail the same applies, most people know little about it, and could care even less. It would take a book to explain all of the in’s and outs of the Bail Bond issue. I won’t bore you with a book because most people don’t read any more! Instead, let us look at the ‘simplistic’ version of what is going on.
Commercial Bond is simple. A judge sets a bond amount based on the severity of the charge. Let us say that bond is set at $5000, under the rules of Commercial Bond the person must post a 10% (non refundable) to a Bond Company ($500).
At this point the Bond holder has entered into a binding contract with the Court, should the person fail to turn up for his/her court appearance, the Bond holder will be liable to pay $5000.
Commercial Bond is good for the tax payer. There are fewer people in Jail, the Bond holder has a vested interest in making sure that the person on bond turns up in court!
There is however a movement to get rid of Commercial Bond in favor of some flavor of Pre Trial Release. PTR essentially is probation without being found guilty. I will leave it up to the reader to decide if the PTR route is sensible. I don’t think PTR makes a lick of sense, the ‘victim’ pays continuously rather than the one off 10%. The tax payer foots the bill for he short fall and the cost of administrating the program. And no-one has a vested interest in making sure the person makes it to court!
As I said the subject is complex. Some times it is even difficult to figure out who is on which side.
The largest organization for the Bail Bond industry is currently PBUS, heading it up is Beth Chapman, and a few inches behind her ‘Dog the bounty hunter’ Duane Chapman.
There is an interesting story on the HufPo, it is worth a read.
There is also the actual court document, again, worth a read.
The folks supporting the lawsuit are the SCHR
So here is the question, what the hell is PBUS actually doing to help the Bail Bond industry? I realize that few people will have the time to read the court docs, but this looks like the stupidest law suit to get behind. SCHR have an agenda, for PBUS to get involved makes no sense. Are they trying to help the PTR folks?