Thursday, January 13, 2011

ALEC Supports Private Surety Bail

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation's largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators, issued a press release on January 10, 2011 supporting the industry in reducing jail populations.

Jail Population Decreases as the Use of
Commercial Bail Increases
For Immediate Release

January 10, 2011
 Washington, D.C.; A new study by the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) found the number of individuals who were held in jail decreased. The overall jail population has decreased from 773,341 in 2007 to 760,400 in 2009. This coincides with an earlier DOJ study that found the percentage of individuals who were released on commercial bail from jail increased from approximately 20 percent in 1992 to over 40 percent today.

Michael Hough, Public Safety Resident Fellow at the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) said, “This latest study disproves the myth being pushed by some that the use of bail bonds increases the number of people in jail – we now know in fact the opposite is true -- that the increased use of commercial bail helps to alleviate overcrowding in jails.”

The National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, which lobbies for the abolition of commercial bail, released a report in 2009 claiming the pretrial jail population was rapidly increasing due to commercial bail ( National Public Radio also made a similar argument in a three-piece report entitled, “Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed with Inmates.”

While the number of individuals in jail decreased from 2007 to 2009 the number of individuals in prison continued to grow.  Hough said, “Commercial bail is more widely used by local governments and judges because bondsmen are able to quickly free individuals from jail while holding them accountable to return to court to face justice. It is important to note that other factors like a declining crime rate also factored in to the lower jail population, put clearly the antiprivate sector bail lobby will have to find something other than jail overcrowding to howl about."

ALEC's website is

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