The Benefits of Bail
In a time when bail reform is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, it is important to remember why we have bail and what the benefits are to both defendants and victims. This article will discuss how bail saves taxpayers money, helps relieve overburdened criminal courts and allows defendants to continue to work and spend time with their family while awaiting conclusion of their criminal matter. It will also look at how bail and bail hearings can benefit victims and support victim’s rights.
Benefit to Taxpayers
One of the primary benefits of having bail and bail bondsmen is that it the cost burden is not put on taxpayers. Bail bondsmen absorb the costs of having to find defendants who fail to appear at court after they have posted bail. Without bail, the burden would shift to law enforcement agencies and an already underfunded criminal justice system. When a person posts bail it also removes them from the jail population. This means that taxpayers are not paying to house a defendant while they are awaiting trial.
Benefit to Criminal Justice System
As mentioned, having bail bondsmen assume the responsibility of tracking down defendants that have posted bail and fail to appear at court relieves law enforcement or court agencies from having to dedicate staff to locating fugitives. Without bail, the court or jurisdiction would have to provide some sort of alternative such as electronic monitoring or other pretrial services program. These programs can be very costly and without proper funding, can easily overextend already taxed budgets.
Benefit to the Defendant
One of the biggest benefits of bail is to the defendant. Bail allows a defendant to be released from pre-trial detention while they await trial. This means they can remain a productive member of society, working and tending to their family instead of remaining behind bars for the duration of the case.
Benefit to Victims
Defendants have the right to a bail hearing. A judge presides over the hearing to decide if he/she will reduce, increase or dismiss bail. At this hearing a victim may also be heard. Preserving the rights of victims to be heard in a criminal court matter is paramount to our justice system.