The State of Connecticut currently allows for the use of surety bonding companies that post bail (“money bonds”) on behalf of arrested persons. When a person is arrested, they typically must pay 10% to 20% of their bail amount upfront from their funds and rely on a relative or friend to put up the remainder. If they cannot afford to pay the full bail amounts, this is where these businesses come in. However, when accused people are unable to post bail, that money goes directly into the pockets of these companies or their clients.
So many associations including Connecticut Bail Bonds Group, Connecticut’s highly respected bail bond association have launched a new campaign to promote the benefits and necessity of Connecticut’s bond industry.
In a study commissioned by Connecticut’s Chief Court Administrator and conducted by Professor Tim Murray of Western New England University, it was concluded that these businesses were primarily interested in the business generated via bond forfeiture rather than what was best for the accused.
This system leads to a revolving door of people cycling through from being arrested to posting bail only to be rearrested again due to failure to appear in court and having their bail forfeited. While this system benefits the for-profit bail bonding industry, it leads to an unnecessary waste of resources in needlessly arresting and detaining people.
The Main Problem
Connecticut is a state with one of the highest rates of racism in the country. Shouldn’t it be finding ways to reduce this harm? The ACLU is against surety companies profiting from money bail in this manner and supports the abolition of bail money, as low-risk individuals can’t afford the fees attached to their bond.
This will allow them not only to be released from custody but to have their case resolved more quickly. The state of Connecticut passed the Pretrial Detention Reform Act in 2012. This act was supposed to eliminate money bail for those accused of minor crimes and even eliminated it entirely for individuals who are charged with misdemeanors and do not pose a flight risk or danger to others.
However, the act did not eliminate it for those accused of violent felonies. In fact, the act seems almost useless when one considers that according to a report by Just City, which looked at cases in Erie County from November 15th – December 31st, 2017, individuals charged with misdemeanors spent an average of thirteen days in jail before their release.
Meanwhile, individuals charged with felonies spend an average of seventy-three days in jail before their release and the majority of them, whether accused of felony or misdemeanor, are released after posting bail.
The ACLU believes that money should never be part of their bond decision, even when someone is charged with committing a violent crime. Instead, they should be released on their own recognizance or with the least restrictive conditions possible, which must still ensure their appearance in court. This would allow people who have been charged to return home and spend time with family instead of remaining locked up before they are found guilty. It would also make it less difficult for them to hire a lawyer since they would not be behind bars.
What Is the Future Of Connecticut and Bail Industry?
Connecticut’s surety industry will be gone in the near future, but there is nothing to worry about. Connecticut bondsmen are not going anywhere anytime soon. Connecticut bail bond agents have been around for more than 50 years. Thanks to efforts by the Connecticut Surety Association’s lobbying team and other Connecticut bail associations and companies, Connecticut bond dealers and Connecticut bail agents are here to stay.
Connecticut surety industry will be replaced by a new, more modern version of Connecticut bail bonds that Connecticut individuals and Connecticut companies are working on. Keep checking back to see how the surety business is doing in Connecticut.
Like other states, Connecticut allows for Connecticut bail bond companies, bail bond agents, and bail unions. It is the only state that requires bondsmen to be licensed by their state government. Connecticut’s Supreme Court has ruled twice in cases brought against Connecticut’s Department of Insurance that bail agents have a Constitutional right to advertise and solicit business.
The Connecticut Bail Association is launching an all-out campaign in defense of Connecticut’s bail bonds industry. This effort comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following its long-simmering feud with Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Court Administrator (CCA) and the state’s Judiciary.