Modern bail agents have been securing freedom for people accused of crimes since 1898. In this time, bail bondsmen practices have evolved, but the premise of the practice has remained the same throughout American history. Bail agents usually take ten percent of a person’s posted bail amount as a fee and sign a surety with courts allowing for a person’s quick release while awaiting trial. Many people believe that these agents have no actual use other than securing a defendant’s release, but they are actually an integral part of the criminal justice system. Without bail bondsmen the criminal justice system in America would find it far more difficult to function.
Overcrowding is a serious problem in many jails across the country. Bail bond agents actually help to ease this problem. Even though the Constitution of the United States expressly forbids excessive bail amounts being imposed, the amounts that are enforced are still some of the highest in the world. If it were up to defendants to post their own bail, many would end up sitting in jail awaiting their trial. Bail bondsmen provide an overall low-priced way for accused persons to get out of jail almost immediately after their incarceration. This not only eases overcrowding but also ensures that the space available in jail is saved for serious criminals.
Bail bond agents don’t just provide a service that slows the overcrowding of detention institutions, they also allow people accused of crimes to take a proactive role in their own defense. It is difficult to properly prepare a defense case against state prosecutors, so a person can only imagine the difficulty someone would have trying to do this from the confines of a jail cell. Bail bondsmen allow people the best chance of beating the charges against them, and this lessens the chance that a person will be punished for a crime that they didn’t commit. This not only saves an innocent person from going to jail, it also saves the state the money it would spend on supporting an additional inmate.
Allows Proper Release Criteria
When jails have issues of overcrowding it can lead to less stringent release criteria. A judge who knows that a jail is already at capacity may have to consider releasing criminals they otherwise wouldn’t in an effort to keep the jail population down. The Constitution only guarantees that a person cannot be punished with excessive bail, not that they will receive bail. Judges, at their own discretion, can deny a person bail if they feel the accused could be a flight risk or a danger to others. Judges who don’t have the weight of an overcrowded facility on their shoulders are better equipped to enforce appropriate release criteria.
Bail agents are an integral part of the criminal justice system. They may not be officers of the court or lawyers, but they serve a vital function in maintaining the fluidity of the system. Even the majority of sheriffs in the country feel that bail bond agencies are important in helping to maintain order within American jails. Bail bondsmen have been ensuring that defendants are allowed out of jail before their trials for over a hundred years, and hopefully they will be around to assist the criminal justice system for a long time to come.