Monday, March 28, 2011

Let's Get the Story Right on Florida's Pretrial Relase Programs

In the March 26, 2011 edition of the Orlando Sentinel, the headline read, “State leaders may steer more inmates to local jails.” The article focused on two bills in the Florida Legislature that would limit eligibility for government-funded release from jail. Also stated in the article was that the, “fight over the county programs centers on certain inmates considered minimal risks — people arrested on first-time drunken driving or minor theft charges and other nonviolent crimes.”

While some defendants released have committed first-time, non-violent offenses, this is not always the case as opponents of limiting such release would have the public believe.

For example, in Orange County, the Board of County Commissioners funds a taxpayer-financed pretrial services program to the tune of approximately $1.6 million. The Sentinel article correctly stated that Orange County’s program has been scrutinized by the bail bond industry.

We would like to tell you why.

The bail industry knows that dangerous and potentially dangerous defendants are being released into the Orange County pretrial services unit every day.  Below are examples of offenses defendants have committed in Orange County and who have been released from jail with your tax dollars.

We don’t believe the victims of these crimes would deem them to be “minimal” or would like the fact that their hard earned tax dollars let the alleged perpetrator back on the street free of charge with no accountability for showing up in court:
  • Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon
  • Aggravated battery
  • Aggravated battery on a pregnant person
  • Aggravated battery w/great bodily harm
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • False imprisonment
  • Battery
  • Battery domestic violence
  • Battery domestic violence by strangulation
  • Violation of domestic violence injunction
  • Tampering with witness to hinder communication to law enforcement
  • Battery dating violence
  • Battery by strangulation/dating violence
  • Battery on law enforcement officer
  • Intentional threat to do violence
  • Carrying concealed firearm
  • Weapons – carrying simulated firearm
  • Possess concealed weapon/firearm by convicted felon
  • Burglary of occupied dwelling/conveyance
  • Burglary to unoccupied structure/conveyance
  • Possession of burglary tools with intent to use
  • Robbery/subsequent force with deadly weapon
  • Grand theft 3rd degree motor vehicle
  • Grand theft 3rd degree
  • Grand theft 2nd degree
  • Racketeering
  • Dealing in stolen property
  • Driving under the influence >.15 and >.20 balance; with property damage/personal injury; with minor in vehicle
  • Driving with license revoked as habitual offender
  • Possession of cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, oxycodone, carisoprodal, ecstasy
  • Sale/delivery of cocaine
  • Possession of controlled substances
  • Possession of a controlled substance with a weapon
  • Trafficking in oxycodone >4, <14 grams
  • Indecent exposure
  • Retail theft >$300 subsequent offense
  • Trespass in structure or conveyance
  • Aggravated fleeing/eluding law enforcement
  • Child neglect/abuse
Do you believe this lengthy list of crimes pose minimal risks to the public? Well opponents of limiting free taxpayer release from jail do.

But let’s look a little further at just a few of the defendants who committed these offenses and their criminal history. Just because one offense may be considered to be non-violent, you must take the offense in context with someone’s criminal history when deciding the appropriate release mechanism. Obviously this was not done with the below defendants.

Arthur Leakes
Arrested for burglary to an unoccupied structure; possession of burglary tools with intent to use; trespass in occupied structure; petit theft and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 12/1990: controlled substance offense
  • 05/1991: theft; possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 09/1991: controlled substance offense (2 counts)
  • 09/1992: possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 10/1992: controlled substance offense; possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 09/1993: theft
  • 01/1995: controlled substance offense; violation of probation for a controlled substance offense
  • 11/1995: escape
  • 12/1995: burglary of a structure; petit theft; resisting law enforcement without violence
  • 03/1996: controlled substance offense; obtaining property by worthless check (2 counts)
  • 06/1996: obtaining property by worthless check (2 counts)
  • 08/1997: delivery of counterfeit controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 02/1998: sale of counterfeit substance
  • 09/2002: possession of controlled substance and drug paraphernalia
  • 09/2003: driving with license suspended/revoked with knowledge
  • 04/2005: theft; cheating; scheme to defraud
  • 10/2007: possession of a controlled substance
  • 8 traffic offenses with fines
Domingo Rivera
Arrested for burglary to an unoccupied structure or conveyance; trespass in unoccupied structure; petit theft and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 03/2001: illegal purchase/sale/offer for alcohol
  • 05/2001: battery
  • 08/2001: aggravated battery with great bodily harm; aggravated assault with deadly weapon; theft
  • 07/2002: petit theft
  • 09/2003: battery (2 counts)
  • 08/2004: burglary; resisting law enforcement without violence; criminal mischief
  • 06/2006: trespass in structure or conveyance
  • 02/2008: carrying a concealed weapon
  • 08/2008: burglary; petit theft; criminal mischief
  • 03/2009: possession of cannabis <20 grams
  • 07/2009: burglary of a conveyance; criminal mischief; petit theft
  • 10/2010: trespass on property or conveyance
Jeffrey E. Fork
Arrested for possession of oxycontin and xanax; possession of drug paraphernalia (2 counts) and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 01/1993: driving with no valid driver’s license
  • 01/1996: possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia
  • 12/1996: disorderly intoxication and disorderly conduct
  • 03/1999: driving under the influence
  • 06/1999: possession of a controlled substance
  • 16 traffic offenses
Lawrence Corns
Arrested for possession of cannabis <20 grams and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 09/1995: burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery; aggravated battery with a deadly weapon; resisting law enforcement with violence
  • 08/2001: possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 06/2004: disorderly conduct
  • 04/2006: driving under the influence
  • 07/2006: reckless driving
  • 08/2007: battery
  • 09/2008: battery/one prior battery
  • 04/2010: battery/prior battery
Michael A. Graham
Arrested for driving under the influence and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 11/2002: lewd and lascivious act in presence of child (4 counts)
  • 09/2003: exposure of sexual organs; lewd and lascivious exhibition by person >17 years; sell/manufacture/deliver controlled substance; possession of controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia
  • 11/2010: robbery with a firearm; carjacking; aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; resisting law enforcement officer without violence
Jerry Wayne Casey
Arrested for indecent exposure and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 09/1987: driving under the influence
  • 05/1996: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; petit theft
  • 07/1998: theft
  • 03/1999: theft
  • 11/2000: resisting law enforcement without violence
  • 05/2003: burglary of conveyance
  • 11/2003: burglary of a dwelling; criminal mischief
  • 12/2003: trespass
  • 01/2005: dealing/trafficking in stolen property; petit theft
  • 09/2007: trespass after warning
  • 06/2008: criminal mischief/damage property
  • 05/2009: trespass; disorderly intoxication
  • 10/2010: illegal purchase/sale/offer for alcohol
Ronald E. Giddens
Arrested for trespass on property after warning and released on the taxpayers’ dime. Criminal history includes:
  • 10/1989: theft; possession of alcohol by person <21 years; resisting law enforcement without violence
  • 07/1994: battery
  • 08/1994: trespass
  • 05/1996: illegal purchase/sale/offer for alcohol
  • 11/2003: aggravated battery/great bodily harm
  • 01/2005: resisting law enforcement without violence
  • 07/2005: disorderly intoxication; resisting law enforcement without violence
  • 08/2005: disorderly intoxication
  • 04/2009: disorderly intoxication
Thomas P. Costa
Arrested for the following offenses and released on the taxpayer’s dime:
  • R.I.C.O.
  • Grand theft 2nd degree $20,000 or more (2 counts)
  • Theft (22 counts)
  • False/fraudulent insurance claims (4 counts)
  • Obtain property by fraud >$300 (13 counts)
  • Acting as public insurance adjuster without a license (2 counts)
Orange County and the other 27 counties in Florida that have government-funded pretrial release programs continue to claim that jail populations will rise without a program despite an analysis by the Legislature’s oversight arm that proves otherwise. In fact, the analysis of counties with and counties without a pretrial release program irrefutably showed that “there appears to be no correlation between counties’ occupancy rate and whether or not they have a program.”

Yet as quoted in the article, the Orange County jail insists that any attempt to limit the type of defendants released into their program, “could mean an average of 274 more inmates staying in its jail each day.” Where is the proof to show this? Under the bills, defendants who can afford bail will pay bail and will be released. Those who are determined to be indigent will continue to be released under a pretrial release program.  Where is the bottle necking?

An official with Orange County was quoted as saying, “extra costs are extra costs.” What about the cost to taxpayers to release defendants who are able to post their own bail? What about the extra cost to the taxpayers’ for law enforcement to find a defendant who has failed to appear? What about the lost time law enforcement spends trying to find defendants who have failed to appear instead of focusing on crime and prevention?

What about the fact that the 75 percent of Florida voters said in a recent Mason-Dixon poll that if a criminal defendant can afford to pay their own bail for release from jail they should not be allowed to be released using tax dollars?

It is a weak argument to keep trying to convince the voters that bail bondsmen don’t care about public safety and only want to see more money put in their pockets. We live and work in our communities; our children go to school and play on our streets; we work hard to run a small business and pay our taxes; we want our communities safe and we want those who commit a crime to be accountable for their own release if able to do so.  We know our industry is the most effective and efficient form of pretrial release.  We know we are financially and physically responsible for defendants we release on bail.  Not the taxpayers.

Support limiting government-funded release from jail.  It is the right thing to do.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Update on Florida SB 372 - Pretrial Release

Published in:

Tuesday SB 372, a bill to limit those who are eligible for government-funded pretrial release, was temporarily postponed in a Senate committee. The sponsor, Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff was unavoidably detained in another hearing.

The postponement did not discourage some heated testimony from the bill’s opponents. Most notable were Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter (who called the bill "The Bail Bondsmen Relief Act") as well as Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats.

It is noteworthy that almost none of the testimony was about SB 372 nor about who should qualify for pretrial release, nor the eligibility requirements being proposed. Instead, testimony was largely a diatribe about the ills of private surety bail and how government-funded pretrial release is superior.

The assertions made by the bureaucrat critics of the bail industry were almost fictionalized with numerous qualifiers like “it is estimated” or “sometimes." And much of the commentary were road swipes at the entire industry.

For example, Sheriff Coats stated:
"the only place a criminal justice system or a liberty decision is governed by a profit-making entity that will or will not take your business is the bail bond industry…”

Sheriff Coats went on to say that some in our industry were actively opposing this measure and were standing with him. Standing with Sheriff Coats were representatives of the Florida Association of Counties and another surety agent.

One further note; it is one thing for there to be disagreements between colleagues on approach or on the merits of a particular piece of legislation or even whether or not to support such legislation...but the fact that a representative of the surety industry stood shoulder to shoulder yesterday with Stacy Ritter and Jim Coats while they bashed our industry and maligned our profession is both disheartening and disappointing.

The role of sureties is not merely to support its agents and advocate for their success but to honor the bail profession and a system that has stood the test of time.

Tuesday was merely a postponement of a new law that will help preserve the bail profession, but one surety agent's overt support of one who demeans its very existence is an insult to the agents who have lived and died in the line of duty.

Read the testimony at:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mason-Dixon Poll Finds Florida Voters Oppose Use of Tax Dollars for Bail

March 16, 2011

Contact: Michael Hough
Phone: (240) 405-7098

Mason-Dixon Poll Finds Florida Voters Oppose Use of Tax Dollars for Bail

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2011) - The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) today released the findings of a recent Mason-Dixon poll showing that Florida voters oppose using taxpayer dollars to bail criminals out of jail, as opposed to defendants posting their own bail. Statewide, 71 percent opposed using tax dollars to bail criminals out of jail, while 18 percent supported and 11 percent were undecided.

ALEC's Public Safety Resident Fellow Michael Hough said, "Last November voters sent a clear message at the polls that they wanted elected officials to cut wasteful government spending so it's no surprise that voters so strongly opposed this criminal welfare program. Floridians are strongly opposed to taxpayer provided bail bonds for criminals who can afford to pay for their release from jail."

Floridians' opposition is reflected in the poll results:

• 78 percent felt criminal defendants who have failed to appear in court on a previous offense should not be allowed to be released from jail using tax dollars.

• 75 percent felt that if a criminal defendant can afford to pay their own bail for release from jail, they should not be allowed to be released from jail using tax dollars.

• Support for theses measure cuts across party lines with 79 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats, and 67 percent of Independents opposing the use of taxpayer dollars to bail non-indigent offenders out of jail.

The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. from March 3, 2011, through March 5, 2011, with a total of 625 registered Florida voters. The margin of error is no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

ALEC has made reforming government-run bail a priority and supports policies that protect the taxpayer dollar and public safety. For more information please contact Michael Hough,

# # #

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators, with nearly 2,000 state legislators across the nation and more than 100 alumni members in Congress. ALEC's mission is to promote free markets, individual liberty, and federalism through its model legislation in the states.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Florida Association of Counties Oppose Limiting Tax Dollars for Release

The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) issued a "Call to Action" today stating it opposes Florida's pretrial release bills, SB0372 and HB1379.

The FAC alert states that any legislation that "limits pretrial agencies' ability to effectively supervise pretrial defendants using locally accepted conditions of release," will be opposed.

Well SB0372 nor HB1379 in any way limits pretrial agencies from effectively supervising defendants.  The bills simply state that if a defendant is not indigent and eligible for the services of a public defender, they shouldn't be released on the taxpayers' dime.  As it is, Florida taxpayers shell out $30 million per year to fund government-funded pretrial services programs, even for defendants who can and should be paying their own way.

The FAC alert went on to say that "pretrial agencies save tax dollars by allowing defendants who cannot afford bond to remain in the community and keep the community ties that encourage law abiding behavior." 

SB0372 and HB1379 doesn't change that scenario at all.  Those defendants who can demonstrate to the court that they are indigent and cannot afford a bond, will still be eligible to be released into a pretrial services program.

The FAC alert also states that "such [legislative] changes would result in an added expense to the taxpayer while more individuals wait in jail and increase the likelihood for jail overcrowding."  This statement is unfounded.

A recent report by the Florida Legislator's oversight arm for pretrial services programs, confirmed this assertion as false.  They examined the 28 Florida counties that have a pretrial services program with the 39 counties that don't have a pretrial services program.  This independent analysis concluded that, "there appears to be no correlation between counties' occupancy rate and whether or not they have a program."

This analysis refutes the notion that pretrial services agencies keep jail populations in check - they do not. 

We would ask that FAC review these reports from the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability before issuing an alert stating inaccurate facts and opposing legislation that would take the financial burden off of taxpayers.

Release Bill Would Unchain Taxpayers

Release bill would unchain taxpayers


Special Correspondent

Published March 11, 2011

Tampa Bay Online

In response to your editorial "Shackle bail-bond grab" (March 8), your readers may wish to consider another policy perspective with the real world in mind.

You argue that Florida Senate Bill 372 "would punish taxpayers to enrich the bail bond industry," when the bill does exactly the opposite.

First, let's examine what the bill does. It primarily changes the law to limit government-funded pretrial release to indigent defendants only. As taxpayer-funded pretrial release was originally created 40 years ago for that very purpose, this seems hardly the "grab" you claim

In fact, what we are witnessing now is that financially well-off defendants are utilizing a taxpayer-funded program to secure their own release when they can afford to pay it. Your readers should regard this as very expensive mission creep.

The premise is simple: If a defendant can pay for a bail bond, then taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill. This change in the law will remove the burden from taxpayers, not add to it.

Second, let's review some recent state reports that show these government-funded services expanding beyond taxpayers' ability to afford them.

A recent report by the state's oversight agency (OPPAGA) showed that during the recessionary 2008 to 2009 report, pretrial services grew an alarming 13 percent in just one year. This growth came despite the fact that the need for such services diminished, as crime had declined by nearly 7 percent in the same time period. Florida taxpayers now shell out $30 million per year to pay for these services - even for defendants who can and should be paying their own way.

Another report gives lie to the often repeated, but false, assertion that pretrial release programs prevent jail overcrowding. The report examined the 28 counties that have such programs and the 39 counties that do not. This independent analysis concluded "there appears to be no correlation between counties' occupancy rate and whether or not they have a program."

Further, when studying Pasco County, which abolished taxpayer-funded pretrial release in February 2009, they concluded, "Its jail population does not appear to be affected."

These two studies clearly demonstrate the fallacy of the fundamental argument in favor of pretrial release services - that they supposedly keep jail populations in check. They do not, and your statement that these programs "have proved economical and effective" is simply unfounded wishful thinking.

And, to be clear, Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff s bill does not seek to eliminate or "gut" these programs, but will simply keep them available only for poor defendants who cannot pay their own bail.

Finally, your inference that SB 372 somehow impacts the use of ankle bracelets or other supervised release programs is just wrong. The bill clearly protects judicial discretion in such matters and only says that if someone can afford to secure their own release, they cannot foist those costs onto taxpayers.

If SB 372 becomes law, there will be little change in how pretrial services are administered in our state, and jail populations will not be affected. But taxpayers will save millions, and these services, which were intended for indigent defendants, will remain intact for those indigent defendants.
The only fundamental change will be that defendants who can afford to secure their own release won't become wards of the state, and they won't be a burden on taxpayers.

Pete Antonacci is an attorney with the law firm of GrayRobinson. He is a former statewide prosecutor who also served as Deputy Attorney General of Florida.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Florida Pretrial Release Legislation Advances for 2011 Session

Published March 2, 2011

According to recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime is down nationwide and fewer arrests by law enforcement are being made. A 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that local jail populations dropped by 2.3 percent from 2008 to 2009. This is the first decline in the U.S. jail population since the DOJ implemented the annual survey of jails in 1982. Large jails led the trend with Florida counties Miami-Dade and Orange leading the nation in overall decline of jail populations.

Yet across Florida, 28 counties have a government-funded pretrial services program, which uses millions of tax dollars to release defendants from jail who have the ability to pay for their own release. Government-funded pretrial services programs continue to expand nationwide despite the drop in jail populations. According to the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA), the arm of the Florida Legislature armed with evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of such programs, Florida taxpayers are footing the bill to the tune of over $30 million annually to allow defendants to be released from jail for free.

Florida’s pretrial services programs do not even consider indigency to be a factor in their release decision. In addition, statewide data on the indigency of defendants in pretrial services programs are not available for comparison purposes. Many defendants currently released through Florida’s pretrial services programs have previous criminal histories and have been able to post a surety bail bond in the past, thus such programs are competing with private enterprise.

Florida Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, has filed SB 0372 to end the use of taxpayer funds to release defendants who can afford their own bail. A companion bill is being drafted in the House of Representatives. SB 0372 simply states that:

“It is the policy of this state that only defendants who are indigent and who qualify for the services of the public defender are eligible to participate in a pretrial services program.”

SB 0372 will not cause an increase in jail overcrowding as opponents of pretrial release reform state. The bill will only require that those defendants who can afford bail must pay it. The bill does nothing to change the release status of defendants who can afford bail; it only states how they can be released. Those defendants who cannot afford bail can still be eligible for release through a government-funded pretrial services program if they are determined to be indigent by the court. As a result, both indigent and non-indigent defendants will be released without impacting jail populations.

As an added measure of accountability, SB 0372 will also give counties the option of utilizing private sector resources of the bail industry to facilitate the release of indigent defendants from jail without using limited tax dollars. An increase in public safety and assurance of court appearance will be an extra benefit.

The private surety bail industry has been proven by numerous national studies, including the November 2007 U.S. Department of Justice Report titled “Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts,” to be the most effective means of pretrial release. According to the DOJ study, “Compared to release on recognizance, defendants on financial release were more likely to make all scheduled court appearances. Defendants released on an unsecured bond or as part of an emergency release were most likely to have a bench warrant issued because they failed to appear.”

Allowing defendants who have been arrested for a crime and who in turn can afford to pay for their own release, to instead rely on a government-funded release system, creates a criminal welfare system that only burdens the taxpayers. By restricting government-funded release to truly indigent defendants, the financial burden on taxpayers will be lessened without increasing jail populations. SB 0372 will do just that.

Florida’s pretrial release legislation is a win-win for the taxpayers and for public safety!
Guest Contributor Melanie Ledgerwood is the Director of Government Relations for Accredited Surety and Casualty Company, Inc. headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Florida's Pretrial Services Programs Wasting Tax Dollars

Florida has 28 pretrial services programs funded by taxpayers that provide free jail release to hundreds of defendants each year – regardless of their ability to pay for their own release. Some defendants are court-ordered into the program or court-ordered to be released on their own recognizance (ROR), while others are released “administratively” by jail staff into the program or “administratively” ROR.

The Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA) is charged with evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of Florida’s pretrial services programs. OPPAGA is statutorily required to produce an annual report on Florida’s programs that covers how the programs are funded, the nature of criminal charges of defendants, failure to appear rates and new arrests, compliance with statutory requirements, budget and outcome information, participant fees and compliance with the Citizens’ Right-to-Know legislation.
OPPAGA was asked by the presiding officers of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives to conduct follow-up research based on their last annual report dated December 2010. This additional research compared 2008 and 2009 pretrial services budgets, percentage changes in index crime rates for 2008 and 2009, jail population and occupancy rates and fees charged to program participants.

The annual budget for Florida’s pretrial services programs for fiscal year 2009  range from a low of $100,526.00 to a high of $5,358,619.00. Twelve counties had an increase in their 2009 budget over fiscal year 2008 despite a decline in the percentage of the index crime rate within the county. The following counties who had increased budgets for 2009 are below:
  • Broward: 3.05 percent budget increase; -4.0 percent decrease in crime
  • Charlotte: 1.0 percent budget increase; -16.5 percent decrease in crime
  • Collier: 26.24 percent budget increase; -6.1 percent decrease in crime
  • Duval: 41.40 percent budget increase; -10.1 percent decrease in crime
  • Leon: 120.73 percent budget increase; -7.5 percent decrease in crime
  • Miami-Dade: 9.03 percent budget increase; -6.8 percent decrease in crime
  • Okaloosa: 14.03 percent budget increase; -8.4 percent decrease in crime
  • Orange: 134.43 percent budget increase; -12.2 percent decrease in crime
  • Osceola: 4.26 percent budget increase; -3.3 percent decrease in crime
  • Palm Beach: 0.44 percent budget increase; -4.5 percent decrease in crime
  • Polk: 0.71 percent budget increase; -7.8 percent decrease in crime
  • Santa Rosa: 21.25 percent budget increase; -8.6 percent decrease in crime
OPPAGA also found that jail populations and occupancy rates varied greatly among all Florida counties.  Furthermore, they determined that there was no correlation between a county's occupancy rate and whether or not they have a pretrial services program. 

This fact is important as advocates of taxpayer-funded pretrial services programs have said that without such programs it will accelerate the need to build more jail beds.  We know this is not the case.  In fact, Pasco County eliminated its pretrial services program in February 2009 and saved taxpayers $348,000 annually.  OPPAGA's most recent follow-up report stated that Pasco County's jail population did not increase after eliminating its pretrial services program.  Nor has the population of the 39 other Florida county jails that don't have a pretrial services program dramatically increased.

Florida taxpayers should let their legislators know that their critical tax dollars should be spent more wisely than providing free release from jail!