In the month of September the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), aka Pretrial Services, put out a scathing anti-bail propaganda document named “Bail Fail” depicting the bail bond industry in America as a complete failure which has led to more crime, more jail overcrowding and is a broken system that needs to be eliminated. JPI declared September as the “War on Bail” month by spreading their report to anyone who would listen, including Judges, District Attorney’s, Bar Associations and the like. Needless to say, “Bail Fail” fails miserably to tell the truth about what bail agents do, how we do it and what benefits we bring to the criminal justice system, the states we operate in and society as a whole.
Senate Bill AB109 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in May, 2011which requires 30,000 of the roughly 180,000 California prisoners to be sent back to County Jails to serve out their sentences or be released and monitored.
Additionally, it requires the county jails to begin housing convicted prisoners that would have normally been sent to state prisons. The law became effective October 1st and the strain on county resources is already being felt, particularly here at the Orange County Jail and Los Angeles County Jail. With already overcrowded jails throughout our state and funding that was already stretched to the limit, this “Realignment Bill” is creating havoc within each counties criminal judicial systems.
Each county is now implementing plans to massively increase the size and scope of their probation departments who have been given the task of devising a plan to handle the additional inmates. Most of the solutions being proposed to reduce jail population involve “sentenced” inmates, or inmates that have plead guilty and are serving prison sentences. The release of these inmates will be primarily managed using government funded release programs, such as GPS monitoring or Own Recognizance release.
Unlike many surrounding counties, Orange County does an excellent job of providing online tools to the public for gathering criminal case information. You probably would be interested in finding out if there is an Orange County Warrant for your arrest or if someone you know is in jail or what a friend or loved one is being charged with. In Los Angeles County it is nearly impossible to find out this information and requires phone calls to courts just to figure out the status of a case. Orange County makes all this information easily accessible via the web requiring no logon or pay-to-use fees. Orange county websites below:
The ExpertBail Network together with Jason Meyerson of Bail Bond Professionals, have launched a new and exciting bail bond education program for high school students in Orange County. Its’ purpose is to inform and educate students about the dangers of drinking while driving and what to expect if they are arrested.
An article from April 12, 2012 in the Philadelphia Inquirer titled, “Courts take action to stem tide of no-shows”, reveals just how enormous the problem of having criminal defendants appear in court or pay their forfeited bail has become. The Inquirer article discloses that an amazing 47,000 defendants have active fugitive warrants for their arrest issued by Philadelphia courts and mainly because of the defendant’s failure to appear. This constitutes a third of all defendants skipped one or more court date, which is the highest failure to appear rate in the nation! Additionally, the court system is owed a staggering $1 billion in forfeited bail that will probably never be collected.
Today the Wall Street Journal featured an article about the bail bond business and how it has been affected by the decline of the real estate market since 2008. The articles author, Dawn Wotapka, contacted Bail Bond Professionals owner Jason Meyerson to discuss how it has changed the way he approaches his business and if more inmates now remain in custody due to the lack of collateral.