There are many things wrong with the criminal justice system but the figures and stories put out by bail reform groups are not the whole story. Bail reform is not needed. These programs shift the burden of paying from the Defendants to the taxpayers they cost millions and aren’t effective. The failure to appear rate in Oklahoma County for the first appearance is over 50%.
Obviously I don’t want to be put out of business but if they had a better way of insuring people would show up to court and be accountable for their actions I would accept that. When the Defendant fails to appear in court the victims aren’t getting justice and more crimes are being committed. Public safety and accountability are what we bring to the table.
Most people who are not bonded by their families are in jail because their families want them to be. They need to know they are not going to overdose and die or steal Grandma’s money and jewelry again. Bondsman take payments and we work with people.
The truly indigent see a Judge and get released on OR within a few days obviously stuff happens and people do fall through the cracks but it is naive and idealistic to believe millions of innocent first time offenders are languishing in jail. If I hadn’t been doing this every day for 25 years I would believe the stories but I know the reality.
I care about my clients and I want them to get help but it’s not helping them to just release them with no supervision. What they need is more funding for inpatient rehab and mental health treatment. In Oklahoma we have defunded many of our drug programs and mental health services for years. That is where we need to put our money.