Bail Reform Part 3: Why Putting the Government in Charge Won’t Work

Defendants released on their own recognizance lack accountability; it’s been proven time and time again in counties where the bail bond industry has been abolished.

People who “skip bail” won’t be tracked down by law enforcement. With commercial bail, the bail bonds companies and the family members who sign for the defendants have a vested, financial interest in making sure these people go to court.  Police and sheriff’s departments simply don’t have the resources to form fugitive recovery units… especially with the amount of people who would be released on their Own Recognizance.

A New Jersey Police Detective penned an Op-Ed for Shore Network News a month after the NJ Bail Reform laws took hold.

“Under bail reform, determinations for incarceration are made based on computer Algorithms called “Public Safety Assessments” or PSA’s. If a defendant has a high PSA they are recommended for incarceration, if the PSA is low, pretrial release or release on summons is recommended. However, as experienced by law enforcement across the state, the program is flawed. For example, the PSA numbers for Ahmad Khan Rahami, (the Seaside Park Boardwalk Bomber), were low enough that if he were processed under the new bail reform act, he would technically be eligible for pretrial release. Yet, despite bail reform being touted as a huge success; people are still sitting in jail on minor offenses because they have a past of committing minor crimes like shoplifting, while violent offenders are routinely released.” – Shore Network News | Phil Stilton Feb. 5 2017

It’s a scary prospect, and to put it bluntly, government-funded programs don’t work.

Read part 4 in our Bail Reform series:  What We’ve Learned from States that Have Done Away with Commercial Bail Bonds

Photo credit: Fotolia

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