Why Bail Bond Agents are an Important Part of the Criminal Justice System
Bail allows an accused defendant freedom while going through trial. This is because in our criminal justice system every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The questions that keep coming up are how effective is our bail system and do bail bond agents provide any good to the communities?
Bail bond agents have a financial obligation to the courts if the defendant fails to appear at any of the court dates. That means if defendant fail to meet this obligation, the bail bondsman would be on the hook for thousands of dollars. I couldn’t think of any better incentive for bail bond agents to stay on top of defendants about court appearances. Instead of tax payers footing the bills for these defendants, bail bond agents are the ones responsible to pay.
Every time a bail bondsman posts bail, a defendant gets released from the tax payer funded jails. That means tax payers do NOT have to pay for the defendants medical, food, shelter, maintenance, and staffing to provide these services once this defendant is released.
When talking about the safety of the communities, everyone has seen the exaggerated Hollywood productions that make bounty hunting look reckless. These shows do not depict what actually does happen when looking for fugitives. A close family member of mine is a full time investigator (bounty hunter) who has been capturing fugitives for close to 10 years. I would say he catches about 300 defendants a year to return them to court. He has never had to kick down a door, use his firearm, or get into any of these shootouts you see on TV because he is smart about it. His best friends and best resource while in the field are the local police departments to ensure no one gets hurt and the situation is under control.
The investigator or bail bondsman spends the hours of research to find the location of the defendant, whereas law enforcement does not have the man power or funding to spend these hours of time on each and every defendant. Without talking much about Pre-Trial Release and there government funded program to release defendants without supervision of a bail bondsman, this explains how Pre-Trial Release does not have the authority or the man power to find these fugitives. Going back to my previous statement of there is no better incentive to find a defendant than the bail bondsman being liable for thousands of dollars. Getting these defendants off the streets and back into court to face their crimes is the most important part.
When a judge sets a bond, these figures are not just random numbers a judge thinks up, but rather a gathering of information to make an informed decision about the risk of the defendant. When a judge sets a bond high, this is because the nature of the defendants charges, community ties, family support, prior appearance rates, and the insurance of the defendant returning to court.
Going back to public safety, when a bail bondsman posts bail there is a requirement of a co-signer or collateral. This is another person usually related to the defendant to take on the liability and responsibility of ensuring a defendant goes to all court dates. At times ankle monitors to track defendants are used and or daily check in’s where the defendant has to check in with the bail bond agent on a daily basis. The bail bondsman is used to supervise defendants while on bail.
This information is only a small portion of the good bail bond agents provide to our criminal justice system. We are a crucial part of public safety and help save money for the tax payers.