There are many pieces of the justice system that contribute to overcrowding in our American jails. Just one of these contributing factors is high bail prices. High bail prices tend to make it
harder for minorities and the poorer populations to get out of jail and work towards paying off their debt and make restitution for the crimes they have committed.
Some people have argued that the new haven jail overcrowding is only worsened by higher bail rates which has the potential of contributing to homeless crimes committed for the sake of incarceration. The homeless population, in states with harsh weather especially, have been known to have a higher crime rate due to the knowledge of a warm bed and meal. Somehow jail, and the fact that they won’t be released without bond, seems preferable to a hard, cold cement bench and “shamefully” begging for the next meal.
Does it even make sense to risk incarceration for a place to lay your head? To the average person, probably not. But to some it offers a warm, well-fed environment in which they can live for a short amount of time, funded by taxpayers. These are, of course, just a few of the reasons American jails are becoming overcrowded. But, do bail bondsmen and the bail set really make that much of a difference in the long run?
How Do Bail Bonds in New Haven Contribute?
It may seem like bail bondsmen really don’t have a lot of control over the jail and justice systems within the state in which they operate. This however, is not always the case. New Haven, CT is one town that is trying their best to create reform to help control both the bail bond amounts keeping petty crime defendants in jails longer and the effects of this can have on the economy. However, in New Haven and throughout the state of Connecticut, according to statistics, 1 in every 33 adults is under correctional control and despite reformists best efforts, things are slow to change.
When bail bondsmen become involved, regardless of the initial cost of the bond, there will be a fee. It could be a flat rate fee, taxed fee, interest fee or even a percentage of the total cost. These fees are usually non-negotiable and must be paid in order for the defendant to be released from prison. Most court systems allow for the use of co-signers and some even now require it for their own safety, but family members and friends are often hesitant to take on that responsibility, leaving the defendant jailed unless he/she can make self-restitution.
This leaves the defendant in the jail, more often than not, for an extended period of time, sometimes up until the court date. This period of time is paid for using citizens’ tax dollars. This is the primary reason reform has been brought to the forefront.
How Does Reform Help?
Cities across the country, including Birmingham, Alabama are turning to non-government entities, such as churches and other institutions to help with reform. In Texas reform has stopped the building of three prisons and closed two more, saving the state and taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
Treatment bonds, using pastors and non-profit organizations have been set up in Alabama as a way to guarantee those with minor charges appear in court, while allowing for defendants to get help.
Another way reform can work to get defendants that are safe to be released to their families. is to increase spending on a pretrial release program. Again this works for criminals who are considered safe to the general public and maintain a low flight risk.
Even though it may not seem like funding another program will save taxpayers very little money in the long run; one Florida county in 2007 saved taxpayers nearly 20 million dollars after closing down an entire wing of the county jail, due to pretrial release programs.
As time move forward reformists will not stop trying to get defendants the help they need without spending millions of state taxed dollars on programs, while bail bondsmen will continue to argue the need for an intervention on these defendants behalves. Regardless of the outcome, we must all work together to get these defendants the help they need to get out and stay out of the prison systems.