Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NAPSA Conference Closed To Those Who Have a Different Viewpoint

The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) is holding its 38th annual conference and training institute in San Diego, CA September 26-29, 2010. NAPSA is a nonprofit national organization, which advocates for the pretrial release and pretrial diversion fields. In other words, they promote the use of government-funded pretrial services programs to release defendants from jail and supervise them using taxpayer dollars rather than release and supervision through the private sector.

Accredited attended the 2009 conference and paid for an "early bird" registration the first part of May of this year in anticipation of again attending an informative conference. However just this past Monday, September 20, 2010, we received a terse letter saying we were no longer welcome to attend the conference! Recently NAPSA had added a conference attendance disclaimer to their website in short stating that "by attending the NAPSA ACTI the attendee agrees with and supports the NAPSA standards." The letter Accredited received stated "your active involvement in the commercial bail bond industry and that industry's endorsement of bills that are meant to limit and restrict the mission of pretrial programs is in direct opposition to our goals and standards."

Well what exactly do NAPSA's standards state?

Standard 1.4 (f) states that "compensated sureties should be abolished." Standard 1.4 (g) goes on to state that "no defendant released under conditions providing for supervision by the pretrial services agency should be required to have bail posted by a compensated surety." Finally NAPSA has stated that "financial conditions should never be set simply by reference of a bail schedule that establishes money bail amounts based on the nature of the charge and state flatly that financial conditions should never be used in order to detain the defendant."

Never??? No matter the crime or the person's criminal history??? Just let them walk out of jail free while the citizens hope that a pretrial services officer will adequately supervise that person from their office???

The private surety bail industry has always said that there IS a role for government-funded pretrial services programs in the criminal justice system. The industry has never advocated for the elimination of such programs as they have for our industry. We believe indigent first-time and non-violent offenders should be the population pretrial services programs focus on, as these are the individuals who often don't have the financial means to get out of jail and based on their crimes, are low public safety risks to the community.

It is nearsighted for an organization like NAPSA to think that the private surety bail industry, made up of small businesses who provide a valuable service to the criminal justice system at no cost to the taxpayer, would embrace their standard of "eliminating compensated sureties," in order to attend their annual conference.

And, is booting a private citizen from their annual conference even legal? NAPSA receives a generous amount of federal funding from the U.S. Court System and U.S. Pretrial and Probation Services. These are federal tax dollars and many employees from these systems attend the NAPSA conference every year.

Unfortunately those who disagree with NAPSA's philosophy, despite being fellow criminal justice professionals, are simply not worthy of attending NAPSA's conference.

Well, there is always next year. Perhaps NAPSA will have a different viewpoint then.


  1. With money on the line, the bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees, and ensuring that they appear in court each end every time the court orders them to appear. If the defendant does not appear in court (skips), the bail agent has time and the financial incentive to find the defendant and bring him/her to court.

  2. barking at the right tree with the wrong rant.