Is More Affordable Bail the Answer? (Hint: It’s Not.)

All over the country, legislators have been looking at and implementing bail reform aimed at keeping non-violent criminals out of jail if they cannot afford bail.  In NH, new bail guidelines that lower bail amounts to make them more affordable have resulted in a rash of criminals being released on their own recognizance only to commit more crimes once they’re back on the street.  Under the new rules, bail commissioners, or, as in other states, risk assessment tools, set bail and the criminals are arraigned at a later date. The goal is to not jail people simply because they can’t afford cash bail. 

Frustration is growing among the NH Police with reform in their state because they find the same people back out on the streets committing crimes hours after they arrested them.  In Derry, NH, a road rage incident highlighted the problems with the reform when 27-year-old Cory Faria pulled a loaded gun on anther person on a busy street.  Faria was arrested and released in his own recognizance a short time later.  The changes allow a bail commissioner to release the defendant if he is not considered a danger to himself or society, and in this case, the commissioner decided that pulling a loaded gun on a stranger did not make Faria dangerous and chose to release the defendant, much to the dismay of the local police.  Complaints from local police from a number of cases like Faria’s have prompted NH Governor Chris Sununu to push for a fix to the problem. 

In states that have passed reform measures or eliminated cash bail, there has been an increase in failures-to-appear (FTAs) at scheduled court hearings.  In 2018, a study was conducted for the Minnesota Law Review that in Kentucky where reform included the use of a risk assessment tool to determine whether or not a person should be held or released, there was an increase in the numbers of FTAs as well as an increase in pre-trial crime.  

Bail exists for a reason.  It allows defendants to be released on bail while giving incentive for them to show up for trial and face the consequences of their actions.  Bail bonds exist to make bail more affordable without lessening the impact of the consequences of skipping out on bail.  Quite simply, they don’t have to pay as much for bail, but are responsible for paying for the full amount if they don’t show up in court.  The entire bond system was created to make bail more affordable so it wasn’t just the wealthy who could afford to be released on bail.

At Mercy Bail Bonds, our caring staff is available 24/7 to help with your release from jail.  Mercy is a full-service bail bond agency serving Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties as well as the entire state of Florida and the country.  Our bond agents will guide you through this difficult time and get you out of jail fast. If you’ve been arrested, call Mercy Bail Bonds now at (727) 856-7775.