For hundreds of years, bail bondsmen helped people get out of jail early. They made sure people could live their lives freely while waiting for their court date. Bail bondsmen have positively influenced people’s experiences with the law. Our resources ease their burdens during the most stressful times of their lives. Ending the bail system can—and will—hurt many. As it stands now, bail reform has the potential to cause more harm than good. While there are a number of reasons why this law will yield harmful outcomes, here’s what you need to know.
Other Industries Suffer
Destroying an industry guarantees impacts outside the web. Our economy is interconnected. It’s a system with complicated relationships and patterns. One thing is clear: for every enterprise or job destroyed, another is impacted. For example, bail bonds companies have innumerable employees participating in economic activity. They spend money on grocery stores, dry cleaners, accountants, restaurants, you name it. Indirect economic activity can be many times the size of direct income and jobs. Drastic policy shifts—that destroy an industry overnight—will impact other industries.
Bail Reform Means Inequality
Texas courts oppose bail reform because it takes decision-making out of their hands. Bail reform law relies on algorithms which determine who is eligible for release. While this sounds secure, the complexity of each individual can’t rely on one equation. The consequences of an unjust decision—like preventing a non-violent person from release—are greater.
Bail Reform Impacts Taxpayers
The likely outcome of bail reform law will be more incarceration. While the intention is to allow more releases, the result will be more people imprisoned. This is due to a lack of accountability in the point-based system. Without this, there will be more conservative approaches to release. This protects bureaucrats and administrators (who don’t interact with the front lines of the law). Higher incarceration rates lead to more bureaucracy—and more taxes.
Putting bail bonds providers out of business takes away resources. Many people can—and do—use bail bondsmen for information and informal guidance. More specifically, those whose faith in government and law is limited. For many years, bail bonds companies helped citizens understand the law. Not only that, but we have also helped them navigate and know what to expect. Without these services, many can find themselves lost in the mess of legal troubles.
Individuals Will Be At Risk
Certain individuals—like people of color and the LGBTQ community—face the most risk. Currently, bail bond companies provide rapid and reliable access to bail resources. These very same resources may not be available in a reformed system. Individual costs are significant, but with bail reform, the public costs are higher.
In conclusion, while criminal justice reform should be welcomed, expedient solutions have implications. A thoughtful approach—in which all options are tested and reviewed—won’t be as harmful. This is especially true when lives and livelihoods are on the line. When it comes to bail bond reform, Texans should proceed with caution.