Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Bad Couple of Days for the Bail Insurance Companies

Yeah, it's been a bad couple of days for the bail insurance companies.

First, they lost that big case in the Third Circuit -- you know, the one they convinced you they'd win because they spent all that money on some big shot lawyer. You know, the insurance companies keep trying to convince courts that they know what "bail" and the "right to bail" are, but they keep getting told they're wrong. I find it really interesting that bail insurance companies and their lawyers don't know what those words mean.

Then, yesterday, the Arnold Foundation mass-released the PSA to all comers. I know the bail industry doesn't know anything about all this, but take my word for it, it ain't good for the bail industry. I never could figure out why insurance companies would base everything they do on actuarial tools except bail. Oh well, all I know is the bail insurance companies don't like them, and now they'll be everywhere. Plus, wait until you see the training behind them! No more money.

Then, today, there's this in the National Review. Seems like people in America want to change the way we do bail and no bail.

Yep, things are definitely changing. Bail reform is low hanging fruit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Bail Industry Loses in New Jersey (Again)

This is getting pretty old. When I go back into the old bail insurance Facebook posts, I see how excited they were about telling bail agents that their savior, Paul Clement, was bringing a suit in New Jersey that will put an end to this whole bail reform thing.

When the insurance companies lost in the district court, they tried to spin it, but I wrote about it here.

Well, it went up to the federal circuit court, and the bail industry lost again. Here's that opinion. I see they're spinning that decision today as well.

I don't have enough time to document all the instances in which bail insurance companies mislead bail agents by hyping their work at battling bail reform. But I can't think of a single time that a bail insurance company blazed some giant headline of "Breaking News" to announce a thing that, six or seven months later, didn't fizzle out.

There will eventually come a time when bail agents everywhere will realize that the insurance companies don't know anything about bail, have no strategy to deal with what is likely the demise of the industry (the strategy they've chosen, to fight everyone and everything, is only making judges decide not to use commercial surety bonds), and missed out on the opportunity to actually help jurisdictions with pretrial release and detention.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Wall Street Journal Article About the Bail Industry

Here are two tidbits from yesterday's Wall Street Journal article about the for-profit bail industry:

"Overall, the net premiums of bail bonds written nationwide declined for the first time last year following five consecutive yearly increases. In 2017, premiums written dropped 3.8% to $119.5 million, according to insurance-ratings firm A.M. Best."

"The A.M. Best Report shows that the total face amount of bail bonds posted in the U.S. dropped to $15.9 billion last year, a 4.4% decline from 2016 and a reversal in the trend from the previous three years." 

How's that ABC strategy of fighting everything look to you now? Are you still winning, or is something else going on? 

By the way, ABC's focus on "risk assessment" is misplaced. Risk assessment tools only replace other forms of risk assessment. Money is risk management. Other forms of risk management replace money. The insurance companies don't know what they're talking about when it comes to risk assessment, which is kinda weird given that insurance companies use actuarial risk assessment tools all the time (and when we explain this to various stakeholders, everyone laughs with that kind of "wow, how can they be so dumb" laugh). The industry has bought into a strategy by bail insurance companies that are ignorant about basic principles of bail, including the very definition of bail (see Harris County order granting preliminary injunction at footnote 20). Accordingly, I expect to see many more articles like the WSJ article in the future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Al Jazeera Video About Bail Reform

Here's a little video about bail reform from Al Jazeera.

I've been watching posts from the bail industry for a long time, and I can tell you that there is nothing in this video that it'll like. It was a bit of a gang fight, with ABC losing due to its inability to concede certain basic facts about the money bail system. 

So . . . I assume that even though someone from ABC was on the show, ABC either won't mention anything about it, or it'll start attacking Al Jazeera and the others personally.

ABC's intentional strategy to argue and fight everything, rather than to think of solutions, is the cause of all of this. Bail agents, this is your future.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Judges/County Lose in 5th Circuit

You know, the only reason I think I keep this blog going is to occasionally tell people how things actually turn out.

ABC's Facebook page still has the big "Breaking News" banner about a bunch of judges in Harris County demanding some new injunction and the County asking for rehearing in the O'Donnell case.

Well, they lost all those motions.

You can thank me for bringing you all up to speed.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

John Legend Lends His Voice to Bail Reform

Here's a nice video titled, "The Truth About the Cash Bail Industry," narrated by big time music star John Legend.

Let me guess, ABC, now you're going to write bad things about John Legend, right?

Really? Even though he played Jesus?

Fight, fight, fight. Where has it gotten you?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Google and Facebook Banning Commercial Bail Ads

Several people emailed me to tell me about this. Yep, Google and Facebook are both banning ads from the commercial bail industry. You can read about it here.

Why is this a big deal? Well, in addition to just the fact of it, it's because of a couple of things called cognitive dissonance and backfire. Cognitive dissonance is basically the state of having inconsistent thoughts. People don't like it, and they mostly strive for consistency with their various views. To do this, they often seek information that reinforces preexisting views and ideas. This is a really powerful phenomenon; in fact, in a couple of studies a year or so ago, some researchers actually found that if you hold certain beliefs strongly enough, even objectively false statements will cause you to become even more firmly entrenched in your sometimes false views. In other words, presenting the actual facts to people holding certain false beliefs "backfires," and causes them to believe their false ideas even more strongly.

This, in my opinion, is why people in the bail industry are constantly befuddled by everything that's currently happening. Everyone in the industry has pretty firm beliefs, and so all statements -- true or false -- are likely woven into the existing narrative of why commercial bail is such a great thing. In fact, if those researchers are right, bail industry people will continue believing that money bail is a great thing, and no matter what we say they'll only believe it more firmly.

But the bigger problem for commercial bail is that the vast majority of people in the United States have absolutely no preexisting notions about bail. That's why, when you explain things to regular people, they don't necessarily like money bail. And it's why, for example, companies like Google and Facebook would immediately choose to forgo advertising revenue from the industry rather than to be a part of the money bail problem. See how it works? Now Google and Facebook have certain beliefs about money bail that they didn't have before, and presumably they'll be looking for facts to support those beliefs.

By the way, this rather dramatic showing of public disdain for the bail industry is very likely caused by the tactics of ABC, which fights everything, treats their own clients as criminals, and personally attacks and insults those who question the status quo. Oh, and when ABC says people are trying to get rid of people's right to bail, what they mean is money bail, and there's no right to money bail in America. Another part of ABC's strategy is apparently to confuse you about the law.

I'd tell you more about the law and the fact that ABC's overall strategy is failing, but cognitive dissonance and backfire tells me that you'll only take it to mean the opposite of what I say.