Bail Reform Part 4: What We’ve Learned from States that Have Done Away with Commercial Bail Bonds

The four states that have done away with commercial bail bonds are Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oregon. Although commercial bail has been banned in four states, they still require cash bail or surety bonds. So how exactly does this serve public interest? There is no bondsman to retrieve those who fail to appear. There is no bondsman who is checking in on them, making sure they are going to their court cases and staying out of trouble. There is no accountability for defendants.

Oregon has become a haven for fugitives because state law does not allow recovery agents to pursue them there. It’s also worth mentioning that the state has a 30% failure to appear rate with its own defendants… when defendant’s lack accountability, they don’t go to court

Philadelphia has also disbanded for profit commercial bail, although the state has not ruled to abolish bail bond companies. How has that worked out for them?

The American Bail Coalition (ABC) cites Philadelphia, PA’s excessive failure to appear rate.  In 2012, pretrial services in Philadelphia caused the loss of more than $1 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) in uncollected forfeitures and more than 47,000 failure to appear warrants.

Time and time again, pretrial release programs have failed to work. Is this really what we want for the state of California?

Be sure to check out our 5th and final part in our Bail Reform series: Accountability is Key.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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