Bail Reform is not Criminal Justice Reform

SB 252, if passed, will release most defendants or as the ACLU calls them the “Justice Involved”. Some will have no bonds or supervision, some will go into programs that will be paid for by you, the taxpayer.  Bondsmen cost the taxpayers nothing and are financially accountable to the courts if our clients fail to appear in court and we can’t get them back in. 

A few states have tried bail reform and it’s a disaster.  They claim it’s working wonderfully.  Here’s the real story:

Here is a study that proves that there are not thousands of people languishing in jail, losing their jobs, homes and families as claimed.

We now have some of the most lenient drug and theft laws in the country.  The next step for the ACLU will be to provide the “Justice Involved” defendants with Uber rides to court,  free daycare while in court and free phones to reschedule their court dates. That is what is being considered in Houston right now.

Dallas County has decided not to even prosecute people for breaking the law.

We are finally beginning to put some money into addiction and mental health treatment. That will be the most effective way to reduce the prison population.  Bail Reform is not Criminal Justice Reform.

More than half of bondsmen these days are women. Many are single mothers. As Bondsmen, we are available to our clients 24/7.  We constantly get calls at 3 AM from people who don’t know what time court is the next morning, which courtroom they are supposed to be in, don’t have a ride, got in an argument with their cosigner or think they need a warrant check because they just got pulled over by the police.  We get out of bed and answer those calls.  No government program will replace that. Yes, we get paid to do our jobs just as you do.  But we do not just take the money.  We provide a valuable service that will be hard to replace.  

If we are going to end private bail and replace it with a government-run and taxpayer-funded program, we should at least come up with a reliable plan that works before we trash the one that has worked for hundreds of years, a program that balances accountability with compassion and concern for the people and families who need it.

There are several pretrial programs already in existence in many Oklahoma counties.  These are the failure to appear numbers for this year in Oklahoma County for all non-bond programs. The actual names and case numbers are available to back up these percentages

Bail Reform

Bail Reform

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.

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