It may surprise you to find out that the cash bail system is not common to all states, or to the rest of the globe. The reasons for this phenomenon are numerous, but one of the most common objections to bail bonds is the room for abuses that the cash bail system can leave. Do the pros truly outweigh the cons? This blogpost seeks to answer this question.
The pain of the have-nots
In the cases of both England and Canada, posting bail (the surety accepted in exchange for releasing a prisoner) for a price is a crime. In such parts of the world, cash bail is seen as an equivalent to bribing the juror and therefore, an obstruction of justice. For those who can’t afford the bail money, seeing others get bailed out purely because they have enough money can be a time of acute pain and sorrow. Not everyone gets to choose between being trapped behind bars and losing custody of their beloved children; and this is especially sad because many who remain incarcerated often have committed nonviolent crimes, like the violation of probations.
The shortcomings of a free-market society
What is missing in the narrative above, however, is that money is a democratizing force also. Most capitalist economies have successfully provided generous welfare benefits and exposed corruption and nepotism; America, in particular, has a plethora of institutions and organizations explicitly designed to help the poor and needy. Although these are far from perfect, they meet many needs of the impoverished, homeless, unemployed, and others who cannot fend for themselves. And the cash bail system, although imperfect, contributes to that impartiality by deterring felons with a big penalty.
The scary alternative…
Yes, the evils of poverty will always be with us, as long as we are a laissez-faire economy. And this is why we all must work to minimize them. History has shown us that, although such performance-based settings can be exhausting and painful at times, it does set a significant limit on freeloaders and concentrated power. Doing away with the cash bail system would mean the removal of this restraint—and an even more catastrophic situation. California’s attempt to end cash bails is a good example; this effort has forced folks to come up with a reliable means other than cash to determine how to detain criminals. The answer California found was algorithm-based risk assessment. Under this so-called bail reform, the justice system would be free of the biases of crooked judges, but now be enslaved to the mercies of pretrial risk-assessment tools, which can be manipulated by totalitarian governments. This is a dangerous slippery slope, as illustrated by works of science fiction like the film Minority Report, in which people get arrested before their crimes are even committed.
Not only does the cash bail system feed households whose breadwinners are bail bonds persons, but it also wards off things like algorithmic risk assessments. Whether criminals are high-risk or low-risk should be judged by other human beings, since we live under a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” For questions regarding bail bonds, feel free to reach out to Troy’s Bail Bonds!