In short, it doesn’t. Sadly, the proponents of the 10% option seem to have forgotten the goal of Bail Reform. They claim the goal of bail reform is to limit the time defendants spend in jail during their pre-trial hearings. Admittedly, this makes sense as we have the presumption of innocence in our judicial system. As the owner of BailCo I believe in the concepts of our judicial process, and that includes bail.
The truth is, not all defendants will come back to court on their own– I’m sure this is a surprise to some of you. Those that are deemed a flight risk are required to post a bond to secure their release. In Connecticut, companies like mine are here to fulfill that need. However, this is a small market, as only about 20% of those arrested are required to post bond. It is a small market because only those with records or serious charges are required to post bond.
So, why would the accused be held for the pendency of their case? Usually the bail industry is blamed, incorrectly. My grandfather always told me when trying to solve a problem you must find the cause. The bail industry is not the cause. There are several reasons a person may not post bond. A few examples of why a defendant may not post bond are:
- They may have other matters pending that prevent their release.
- They may be held to give them time served to count towards their sentence.
- Their family may not want to release the defendant for various reasons.
- Oddly enough, the defendant may not want to be released!
We don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies to find the proximate cause of our problem, but we are. We already have the data; all we have to do is look at what we are arresting people for. If these crimes are deemed innocuous and not worthy of prosecution, then stop arresting people for them. If bonds are preventing defendants from being released, then don’t put a bond on them. If defendants are in jail for too long during the pendency of their case, find a way to expedite the process. The bail industry has no control over any of these situations, and yet we are blamed.
The 10% option does one thing: it eliminates the need for the bail industry while doing nothing to help the defendants. To make matters worse, it does this at the taxpayers’ expense and it defeats the purpose of the 8th Amendment. Judicial reform is a necessity, but eliminating one of the most efficient forms of pre-trial release makes absolutely no sense.