I never thought it would happen. After years – no, decades – of claiming that there are no people in jail due to lack of money, a bail insurance lobbyist said, “It does happen, so I think we need to admit that.” Historic.
Normally, such admirable truth telling would prompt a bit of praise, but in this case I just can’t do it. That’s because I know how long the bail insurance companies have claimed that there are no poor people in jail. In fact, when it comes to poor people in jail, they’ve vehemently denied it, called it a myth, and said it’s a conspiracy among bail reformers to try to put them out of business. And because of that, poor people remained in jail due to money, which messed up their lives, their families’ lives, and even the lives of the general public, who had to deal with the consequences of unnecessary detention that the insurance companies said didn’t exist.
So now we know just how long a bail insurance company will make obviously false claims just so it can make money. A really long time.
Which makes me wonder. How long will they keep spewing all their other false and equally ludicrous claims? I mean, the “no poor people in jail” claim was obviously ridiculous and harmful, but the insurance lobbyists cited studies, gave presentations, and even provided testimony trying to get people to believe it. Is that it? Do we have to wait ten or twenty years on every bogus claim until they finally realize that nobody believes it and they have to give a retraction? Don’t they realize that their ruining people’s lives? This isn’t like other businesses, you know. Lying about bail has real consequences.
And now they think they should start a bail fund. Wow (please visualize me doing a double take or spewing milk out of my nose). I mean, WOW! You do realize, don’t you insurance dudes, that bail agents everywhere have had the ability to start a bail fund for the last 100 years. It’s called waiving the fee.
The insurance lobbyist said, “We can do some good if we put our mind to it,” but the bail insurance companies are beyond just doing good to make up for the disastrous, decades-long lobbying effort designed to keep money in the system. I mean, where was this realization that poor people are in jail when they were trumpeting their “big victory” in Georgia through a new law forcing judges to set money bail?
Bail insurance companies, if you want to do some good, quit acting like you’re interested in pretrial freedom while you argue that there are no nonviolent criminals and that everyone in jail belongs there. Quit acting like you care about release while you push a system that historically keeps people in jail. Quit saying you care about defendants while you make fun of how they look in their mugshots or sing songs about how idiotic they are. And quit paying lobbyists to say any ridiculous thing just to keep the money rolling in.
Do America a favor and just quit.