Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bail Bonds And The Prison-Industrial Complex

Ivan Moreno's AP article goes into the way the bail bonds people are opposing cheap pretrial supervision programs, because these programs don't use the threat of prison to pressure the accused to post bail. According to a Colorado criminal justice planning manager, pretrial supervision costs $1.93 per day, while prison costs $104 per day. In light of that, it's interesting to see this from a bail bondsman against pretrial supervision:
"I hate it," said Chris Cagle of Atlanta, Ga. "It's a program that when it started it had some good to it. ... But now it's a bloated government waste."
Ordinarily, the prime candidate for the 'bloated waste' designation would be the program that costs over fifty times more -- imprisonment. You'd think that you should argue for imprisonment that you can only get out of by posting bond on grounds of how it contains flight risks, or something like that. The fact that this dude goes to the 'bloated government waste' line is a neat example of pseudo-libertarian rhetoric run amok.

I'd be curious to see more examples of things that the American Bail Coalition or other bail bonds industry groups lobbied for. These seem like the kinds of folks who would want to maintain our current socially destructive marijuana policies, since they have an interest in people being put in jail, though I don't have much information on what they're doing on that score.

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