When a person in America is arrested he or she often has to pay a fee to a for-profit bail bonding company in order to be released. This practice is so ingrained in the mindset of Americans that it is shocking to find out that the U.S. is one of only two countries that use this archaic and ineffective system to assure that an arrestee appears in court. Reentry Central recently posted an article by Justice Policy Institute, Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Money for Bail, on the failure of the system.
Now, another report from the Justice Policy Institute takes hard look at the bail bonding system and finds that almost since its inception at the end of the nineteenth century, legitimate concerns involving corruption, discrimination and the effectiveness of this system have been brought to the public’s attention.
For Better or for Profit: How the Bail Bonding Industry Stands in the Way of Fair and Effective Pretrial Justice concludes that the bail bonding system keeps low-income individuals in jail for long periods of time because they cannot afford to pay for their release. And, the report shows how tax payers are footing the bill to keep pre-trial detainees locked up. Offering a history of the bail bonding system, and the corruption that is too often associated with it, For Better or for Profit offers sound recommendations on what can be done to ban for-profit bail bonding, as Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin have already done.