Thursday, October 22, 2009


According to national data by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, local governments spend more money on criminal justice initiatives than state or federal goverments. Of those inmates in jail on any given day, 35 percent have been charged with violent offenses; 22 percent with property offenses; 23 percent for drug offenses and 20 percent for public order/ordinance offenses. Many of the inmates have a history of repeating criminal behavior.

Proponents of pretrial release programs acknowledge that courts are imposing more financial conditions of release for the crimes committed, as they should. Why would a judge release someone on pretrial release, particularly without a bond, when the level of supervision is only to call in to an automated telephone system?

In Florida, the average bail bond is $1,500, which means a defendant only has to post $150 and some form of collateral to gain release through a bail agent. Collateral is taken to involve a third party who will motivate the defendant to attend all of his court appearances. Don't you think if a defendant's parents, other family members or a friend put their house or car up as collateral or ensured the bail amount on a credit card if the defendant failed to appear, that the defendant would have more incentive to follow through on their responsibility? And if they don't, the bail agent and not the taxpayer is responsible for paying the full amount of the bond to the court.

Advocates of taxpayer-funded pretrial release programs simply want defendants charged with any type of crime that requires financial release to be able to walk out of jail without paying a dime and with little to no supervision. Their goal is to abolish financial bail. In the four states that did abolish bail some years ago, their failure to appear and fugitive rates have skyrocketed to the point that it would take millions of dollars and manpower to find absconded defendants.

If someone willfully chooses to commit a crime then they should be held accountable for the consequences. It that means they have to use some of their own resources to get out of jail, or use someone else's resources, so be it. Maybe they will think twice the next time before commiting another criminal offense.

No comments:

Post a Comment