I have been hearing the proponents of bail reform/elimination float the argument that requiring a monetary bail amount to secure the release of an accused defendant does nothing to increase the probability that a person will appear in court or comply with court orders. These statements are blatantly false and those that propagate these ideas are either naïve to the actual workings of a bail bond or else they are intentionally misleading the general public as to the effectiveness and purpose of a bail bonds.
What bail reformers/eliminators fail to address is that a bail bond is an insurance contract that requires a contractually bound guarantor to pay up to the full amount of the bail if the defendant fails to appear/comply with the court. This guarantor is almost always a family member, employer, or close friend that is invested emotionally and monetarily that the accused appears to all court dates and follows all court orders. Statistics as well as logic support the fact that monetary bail is the most effective form of pretrial release.
I believe most everyone agrees that the judges our communities elect have the firsthand knowledge and expertise to best determine what form of pretrial release is the most effective and appropriate for a given defendant.
Our judges have all the options available to them that include releasing via bail bond, release on the defendants own promise to appear, and release via supervision of pretrial services. When a judge requires a defendant to secure a bail bond in order to be released pretrial it is because their experience tells them this is the most effective and appropriate mechanism. Bail reformers/eliminators would take this option away from our judges. It is of their opinion that they know better and reducing a judge’s options is the most prudent avenue to ensure public safety and justice for the crime victims.
When presented with all the facts, I believe the general public unequivocally sees the value of bail bonds and would find it mishandling of justice to eliminate this option for our judges.