One of our goals at PCS Bail Bonds is to help those of you who are unfamiliar with the bail bond process gain a better understanding of how it all works. We make it a point to provide valuable insight into your responsibilities should you decide to bail someone out of jail, our responsibility as private bail bondsmen, and the defendant’s responsibility should they receive bail.
But there’s another form of bail apart from our private system. It’s called a pretrial release program and is actually funded by taxpayers. Needless to say this program has come with its detractors. The means by which it operates has caused controversy since its beginnings in the 1960s. We’ll discuss exactly what pretrial release programs involve and how they are supposed to work in comparison to the private bail programs.
Pretrial Release Programs
Originally, the thought behind pretrial programs was to help the few who truly could not afford to bail themselves out of jail. The program was federally funded and those funds were used to secure the release of these defendants. After a formal body was established in 1973, appropriately named the National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies, pretrial release programs have been more often used as an alternative to bail bondsman. Today, more and more states have begun relying on pretrial release programs over bail bonds because they believe that defendants should be released after an arrest without finances being a consideration for that release.
The reason pretrial release programs have been so controversial is because it allows defendants to escape accountability. Without any incentive to appear in court, defendants don’t feel the pressure necessary to fulfill their responsibilities. Many end up not showing up for court and not paying the penalty, essentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for whatever amount was presumed to be paid.
In Philadelphia, where bail has been exclusively controlled by the government for decades, the strict reliance on pretrial services resulted in over $1 billion owed to the city and over 47,000 defendants failing to appear for trial.
Private Bail System
The reason the private bail system works so effectively is because it holds defendants accountable. There is more to lose than simply their freedom should they decide not to show up for scheduled court dates. Their families or close friends could be severely put off, or they could lose their own money or assets.
This is not to say that the private bail system is perfect. There are always ways we can improve our own process and better serve the defendants and their families. But it is clear that without any accountability, defendants are less likely to honor their obligations.
It is possible that the amount of the bail may not equate to the crime and may be outside the defendant’s means. However, there are principles already in place to help guide judges in their decisions to set bail amounts. Private bail systems believe that not having any financial attachment is an ineffective course though.
PCS Bail Bonds has been in this industry for over 20 years. We know that what we do makes a difference in the communities we serve. We try to keep you as informed as possible as to how court and bail proceedings work. Our web site is full of information you can access, or if you have any pressing questions just contact us right away at 817-335-1655.