Saturday, April 15, 2017

Modifications Sought for NJ Bail Reform?

So the insurance companies are now displaying a letter from the NJ Attorney General saying that he wants modifications in bail for persons arrested on gun and eluding charges. 

The industry posts the story, and then adds commentary saying "The wheels are starting to come off of NJ bail reform," and "The failures of NJ bail reform are well documented."

That's some pretty hyperbolic commentary, given that the NJ AG didn't ask for the one thing the insurance companies want in all cases -- the re-introduction of money.

Those insurance dudes don't get it. NJ has created a super wide detention eligibility net, and could quite easily detain persons showing any kind of heightened risk to public safety. Adding money to their bonds -- the only solution posed by the insurance companies -- won't do a thing for danger, and everyone in NJ knows that. Heck, even the insurance dudes know that. That's why most of their posts are mixed messages, with statements warning about all those dangerous defendants while simultaneously talking about the presumption of innocence. Right now, you have the head of ABC trying to start a national bail fund for poor people while the head of PBUS continues to say, "people aren't in jail because they're poor."

Nobody except the insurance companies is saying to add money back into the bail process to make people safe. I've spent the last 10 years showing how money doesn't make anyone safe, and the bail industry has spent the last 10 years making sure they don't have any responsibility for public safety. Some of our worst failures over the years have been when super high risk people bail out of jail on a surety bond and commit heinous crimes. Just a few weeks ago, a guy in Colorado bailed out on a surety bond and was promptly arrested for a double homicide. Nobody assessed him, nobody supervised him, and he didn't even have any other conditions besides the money, which nobody even forfeited. 

If I thought that the people who run these systems paid any attention to the insurance companies' various Facebook accounts, I might be worried that they'd be duped in some way. But everybody I know in criminal justice knows the score. The only reason these stories -- and their crazy commentary -- get posted is to convince bail agents that somehow they're winning the war so that they'll keep sending money in to continue the fight. 

So go ahead. Keep sending it in. You're paying for the salaries of people who are systematically killing your businesses.