Did you know that bats are one of the most essential animals to human life? They consume the most insects out of any animal in the world; without them, insects would take over.
But what does this have to do with bondsmen?
Bondsmen, much like bats, provide a service very few people know about or understand. Under normal circumstances this is fine; much like bats, we have done our job without any recognition for a long time. However, my industry has recently come under attack and is threatened with extinction. Much like the elimination of the bat, this has serious consequences.
To understand the gravity of this situation, you must first understand our primary role in the judicial system. A bail bondsman’s primary objective is to ensure that the accused attends all of their court hearings. Our service is very important to the defendant because without us, they would have a much more difficult time proving their innocence while incarcerated. The presumption of innocence is the fundamental concept in our jurisprudence. Sadly, this concept appears to be lost on many of our lawmakers and seems to be eroding with the passing of every session– but that’s a topic for another time. Posting bail also gives responsible defendants the opportunity to work, seek treatment, hire counsel and continue their role in their family. Most of the individuals arrested are released on a promise to appear. Approximately 20% of defendants have to post bonds; a relatively small number, but they are the ones with the highest risk assessment.
The proponents of judicial reform have targeted the methods in which the accused are released. It seems the primary objective is to eliminate the commercial bail industry, though I’m perplexed as to why. Most of the data supporting the arguments to eliminate bail in Connecticut is anecdotal at best, and will certainly come at a high price to the already overburdened Connecticut tax payer. Oddly, liberals and many civil rights groups have shown support for this type of reform.
The 8th Amendment was written to help the accused and protect them from the government. It ensures that their accuser does not hold the keys to their freedom. Imagine what would happen if the state that is accusing you of a crime is also the same entity that determines your release. Elimination of commercial bail will most certainly create an unfair system resulting in more defendants being detained for the pendency of their case. If you would like proof, take a look at a similar system created by the federal government in 1986. The way the system works is you are either released or held (preventative detention) based on your risk assessment. It will result in more people in jail, and hundreds of millions in costs to incarcerate or monitor them. Civil rights groups and citizens should be outraged.
All of those that work within the judicial system in some capacity will admit improvements can be made. However, this is not one of them. If they truly want to fix the system’s deficiencies, they should create treatment and rehab programs with an impartial party to provide reviews and ensure these methods are effective. Take a look at the laws; many of them are considered by the proponents of reform to be innocuous. If they are, eliminate them. If they are not, enforce them and let law enforcement do their job, ending the revolving door.