Are Bail Reforms a Real Possibility?

We all know that the bail system unfairly burdens the poor and impoverished as well as the unemployed, and ends up targeting certain classes and races as a result. That’s why many who can’t afford bail turn to a bail bondsman in Angleton, TX to help. However, there have been talks of bail reform for years. You may be familiar with the 2016 call for bail reform, but the buzz around this type of reform goes back much farther than that. Keep reading to find out the history and implications behind bail reform.

A history of bail reform

During the first National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice, convened by Attorney General Robert Kennedy over 50 years ago, the subject was first put on the table. Two years later, in 1966, the Bail Reform Act was passed. This act expanded the bail system by releasing the accused on their own recognizance. A recognizance is a bond by which a person undertakes before a court to appear when summoned. In other words, the bond became a kind of collateral in which to insure the accused shows up in court.

We are currently in the third wave of bail reform, which began in 2011 with Attorney General Eric Holder speaking to the National Symposium on Pretrial Justice. His goal was to seek support for alternatives to cash bail. He has the support of many activists, who put pressure on their legislators and the criminal justice system to make change happen quickly.

An alternative to cash bail

Today’s activists are particularly concerned with the statistical burden on low-income black people, who can’t afford to pay bail. One proposed alternative to cash bail is a predictive risk algorithm. This algorithm can help judges decide who needs to be detained pretrial, such as those who are a threat to the public or a risk of fleeing and not showing up in court. Those who pose no threat to the community can be released without pretrial detainment. The algorithm works by data mining administrative records, looking for factors like the age of the first arrest, prior misdemeanors or felonies, history of drug abuse and previous incarcerations.

There are certain downsides to the algorithm. For one thing, there is already a disproportionate number of low-income black people who have already been victims of the system and will have factors in their records that will still lead to their detainment. In other words, the algorithm, which is based off the current system and its consequences, will reflect the bias that is already in place.

What to do today

A genuine, fair bail reform may still be a long way off. It’s possible that the algorithm can be tweaked to take into account the unfair systems that are already in the works, but in the meantime, you need a solution. A bail bondsman in Angleton, TX can help you make your bail today. At Brazoria County Bail Bonds, we provide bail bonds that can give you your life back and help you make bail for a variety of legal offenses. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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