There is growing opposition to the unconditional bail bonds that criminals can purchase in several major cities across America. Too much money can be paid as a surety for release from jail in many cases. This money goes to the individual or company that allegedly facilitates the criminal’s release from prison without fear of being arrested again for a crime they have not yet been tried.
Officials say this type of legal system allows those who can afford it to pay their way out for crimes for which they have not been charged. The result is thousands of poorer individuals sitting in jails waiting weeks or months before trial because they cannot afford such large sums of bail money to “guarantee” that they will appear in court.
Bail Reform Efforts
The “bail reform” effort came into the picture in some cities. In a deal with lawmakers reached recently, there would be a more considerable emphasis on preventing those who can’t afford bail from remaining in jail while they wait for their trial dates to arrive. This has been a big issue for many civil rights leaders and justice reform advocates across the country.
Other cities where officials have been working to lower crime rates, specifically by reducing incarceration times for criminals who cannot afford unconditional bail bonds. At present, it’s estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of criminals can post bail then fail to appear in court when their trial dates arrive.
Still, in other cities, there has been a recent move toward using conditional bail bonds for criminals who can’t afford such expensive forms of bond release. This type of bond release would require the criminal to stay on some legal short leash until their day in court arrives, while at the same time allowing them to live and work at home rather than remain in jail while they wait for the trial.
Unconditional Versus Conditional Bail Bonds
Unconditional bail bonds allow the person to get released from jail and don’t require any actions on the part of the accused person or party being released from prison before the day of the trial.
Conditional bail allows the person to get released from jail that requires actions on the part of the accused person or party being released before the day of their trial. For example, if a criminal defendant must wear an ankle bracelet, they are out on conditional bail, not unconditional bail. The purpose of them wearing the ankle bracelet is to determine whether or not they will return for their court date if they violate certain conditions like removing the bracelet. Authorities are alerted and may send officers an arrest warrant.
Both scenarios have their good and bad points. It appears the bigger cities have more issues than the smaller ones, but the problem still exists. The primary purpose of bail bonds is to allow a person to get their affairs in order should they get a guilty verdict in court.