The Justice Policy Institute is up to it again. This time, they are trying to mislead the public with a pretty new infographic about the commercial bail industry. Now don’t get us wrong, infographics are a great way to help people visualize facts and statistics, but this infographic falls way short of that goal. In fact, it is riddled with so many ridiculous and meaningless numbers, that Dennis Barlett of the American Bail Coalition, felt that it was his responsibility to set the record straight once again. Read Dennis’ response to the misguided infographic below.
JPI’s War On Bail: A Pneumopathology?
by Dennis Bartlett, Executive Director – The American Bail Coalition
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Eric Voegelin credits the philosopher von Schelling with coining the term pneumopathology which is an abnormal spiritual virus in which the infected subject revolts against reality as it exists and purposefully omits an element of reality in order to facilitate his fantasy.
$3.1 Million in Lobbying – From 2002 to 2011 the bail industry influenced pretrial policy through at least $3.1 Million to state-level lawmakers
Where did JPI come up with 3.1 Million dollars over 10 years figure? Did they audit each state’s office of ethics compliance? For each year? How did they identify the players? Solid numbers? Or is JPI trying to make an ice cube from a puddle? That number seems way too high based on what we have seen in the industry. But even with that number, the impact and influence that JPI is insinuating that the bail industry has wielded and wields over legislators over the past decade is evanescent, that is, if you have any respect for the nature of causality. Break down the numbers a bit.
14 Billion in Bonds written by bail agents. With an average premium cost of 10%, the bail industry has generated $1.4 Billion in revenue from people who can’t afford it and who will never get that money back.
According to the Surety and Fidelity Association of America, which is tasked with gathering this data, the aggregate figure for 2011 penal liability for bail bonds was $13.6 billion. For people who work for a living, an omission of $400,000,000 is substantial. One could wager, that even PJI’s generous benefactor, George Soros, would concede that. Hence, the gross profit for the bail industry for 2011 is circa $1.36 Billion.
So if commercial surety accounts for approximately 21% of all pretrial releases (BJS study)…and the value of those releases is $13.6 billion, that means that other forms of pretrial release account for approximately $45 billion worth of releases (79% of the total, which is $66 Billion worth of releases). Of those remaining releases, unsecured releases account for 54% which equals $35.6 Billion worth of releases. That $35.6 Billion are releases that are not secured…so if anyone doesn’t show up for court, no one has assumed the risk and no one pays. Assuming a FTA of 30%, which is the average unsecured release FTA rate, that amounts to $10.7 Billion in lost revenue to counties and states from defendants who fail to appear. Also when a defendant doesn’t appear on a financially secured bond, the bail agent pays the full amount to the court. That is the guarantee that bail provides…the defendant appears or we pay.
1992 – 2006 the average bail amounts doubled.
8 out of 10 people in the US would have to pay a full year’s wages to make the average bail amount of $55,500.
False by virtue of the fact that he average bail about is less than ten times that figure. Based on the data provided in the previous section, we calculated a rough amount of approximately $4,500 for the average bond amount. Second, PJI omits that the defendant has to pay the full amount of the bond. Let’s assume that a bond set by the judge is $55,500. A consumer does not pay $55,500 to get the bail bond. Rather they pay a premium of 10% on average to the bondsman. That is $5,500…a number ten times less than the average annual wage of someone in the US. If you use the “real” numbers, an average bond of around $4,500, the cost to the consumer is only $450 to get a bail bond.
agreed that commercial bail plays an important role in the criminal justice system
(70% said a very important role)*
commercial bail bond, they would show up for court*
agents play an important role in the criminal justice system (74% said very important role)*
bond they are twice as likely to show up for court*