The short answer is a resounding YES!
Although, it would certainly be hard for most citizens to understand why there is a need for commercial bail due to the fact that little information highlighting the positive aspects of the industry are made known. In addition to the plethora of biased, or at the very least poorly researched articles, that the media has produced over the years has created a very negative perception of the industry. Sadly the media has been very quick to point out the bail industries shortcomings. No one will argue that there aren’t issues within the industry but it’s important that people are aware that these issues are slowly being resolved both from within the industry itself and with the help of the Connecticut Insurance Department.
For those of you pondering why as a state we could possibly need a private bail industry, you first must understand that all citizens are provided with the opportunity to be released from incarceration while their case is pending. This right is such an important part of our judicial system it’s mentioned in more than one of our Constitutional Amendments. The release of the accused is called pre trial release.
Pre trial release comes in many forms only one of which involves the Surety Bail Industry. All of the other forms of pre trial release are State funded and in fact share many of the same short comings as commercial bail. The major difference between the Surety Bail Industry and a State sponsored form is who pays the bill. Like all government programs and agencies the State forms of pre trial release are very expensive and inefficient.
To make matters worse State bonds have a much higher rate of forfeiture in which the cost again falls on Connecticut tax payers. The Surety Bail Industry does NOT cost the citizens of Connecticut anything while providing precious jobs and salaries to many, which provide much needed tax dollars. Perhaps an even more important aspect is when forfeitures occur on a privately posted surety bond, the company has the burden to return the defendant to the court, NOT the state. If recovering the defendant is somehow not possible for the company’s bail enforcement agents, the surety company pays the bond to the State which in turn is the revenue for the general fund.
The bottom line is that the commercial bail industry provides jobs and revenue to the state. All state funded forms of pre trail release come at a horrific expense to the State of Connecticut and are much less effective at insuring the defendant makes it to all of their scheduled court hearings.
The private Bail Industry does need help cleaning up some components of the industry but overall is an asset to Connecticut and could be a much larger one if the state allowed it to be. What our law makers should be looking at is how ineffective and costly the state funded forms of pretrial release are and how they can be eliminated. Not to mention some of the redundant offices in the judicial system are costing the tax payer tens of millions. Elimination of these programs and offices would grow the bail industry, creating private sector jobs, while SAVING tax dollars for state agencies and programs that really need the funding.