Saturday, February 14, 2015
The Evolving Views of the Bail Insurance Companies
It used to be that two of the most ridiculous statements ever made by bail insurance company lobbyists (you remember them ... they're the ones who get paid humongous fees to make sure we keep money bail in place) are these: (1) there's no such thing as people being in jail because they can't afford to pay money; and (2) there's no presumption of innocence at bail. These aren't the only two, but they're biggies, and so I figured that eventually they'd have to start spinning their way out of them.
Well, just recently I read an online article by a big bail insurance company, and it premised its whole shtick on the presumption of innocence. Man, that's a pretty big reversal. Somewhere on this same company's website is another, older article, in which a lobbyist for the same company went to great pains to explain why criminal defendants are not presumed innocent at bail. Knowing this company, it's probably still on there because it doesn't even recognize when it contradicts itself anymore.
So that's one extraordinarily ridiculous statement recanted, and one more to go.
Just remember that the issue we all face with bail and no bail is money. If you're not thinking about money -- what to do with it and whether you even need it -- you aren't doing pretrial justice "justice."
Bondsmen aren't the problem. They're just using an antiquated, unfair, and opaque system to try to make a living. Most bail agents I have met are great people, and they believe deeply in the right to bail. The insurance lobbyists, though, are something quite different. One day they'll say there's no presumption of innocence, and the next day they'll say there is. They'll tell you just about anything to keep you from rationally thinking about money. And that's because if we start thinking about money rationally, they may not get their cut.