Skip to main content
The Oppression of Bail
Mathew Barker- Benfield

Most people are quite familiar with the concept of bail; Law and Order attorneys arguing for or against the possibility of bail for some suspected criminal, often at values of $10,000 or more. The concept behind bail is that individuals accused of a crime either a) need to be kept in jail until their trial, or b) need to pay some amount of money as a guarantee that they will go to their trial, where they will be given back their money. Of course, television obscures a huge part of the politics behind bail, bail bond agencies, and the often little amounts of money that comes between an individual and their freedom. The fact of the matter is, more than 500,000 inmates in jail today are there not because they are guilty, but because they are unable to pay bail, and so must wait in jail for months at a time until their trial, causing huge emotional and financial hardship on them, their families, and their communities.




Most people aren’t aware of the huge number of prisoners currently incarcerated and awaiting trial, unable to pay bail as little as $50. In fact, the United States spends over $9 billion dollars a year housing them. Doug Currington, an inmate awaiting trial in Lubbock, Texas, tried stealing a television from Wal-mart while high on methamphetamine. His bail is $150, and he has been in jail for 75 days, at a cost to taxpayers of over $2,850. Even subtracting the inhumanity of Mr.Currington’s situation, one wonders how such glaring inefficiencies could exist in our prison system, especially during budget crises in many states.



One way of answering this curiosity is by following the money. In the case of bail, the trail leads to bail bondsmen. In exchange for a nonrefundable payment worth 10% of the total value of the bond, bail bond agencies will pay your bond. As soon as you go to your trial, the bond is given back, netting the agency a handsome 10% profit. Many of those who are arrested and awaiting trial assume that one must work through a bondsman in order to pay the court, not realizing that they are able to pay bonds directly. Bondsmen don’t even really run the risk of losing their money if their client does not show up for trial, because they only pay a fine worth 5% of the bond, which is worth less than the 10% fee they charged. Politicians don’t rally against the agencies because it is political suicide to appear “soft” on criminals, and because the bond agencies are incredibly powerful political lobby with influence in nearly every state. These lobbyists fight against programs such as pre-trial release that would cut into their profits, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives that are ruined by being incarcerated. The men and women often lose all their belongings, their apartment or home, and worst of all, have a much higher chance of a receiving jail time instead of probation, even a longer sentence, compared to those that make bail, yet another regressive policy that extends the cycle of poverty generation to generation. Pre-trial worker Steve Henderson argues “The only thing that jail is good for is to keep the dangerous people in the community away from the people who don’t pose a risk.” Justice Department figures suggest a different story, showing that nearly 2/3rds of all inmates are non-violent petty offenders who are there because they can’t afford bail. Whose Justice is really being served?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Most Beautiful Girls to Ever Kill Their Own Mother

As human beings, we have trouble fathoming the idea of a young girl committing so atrocious a crime as murder. Much less, the murder of her own mother. The concept becomes even more inconceivable when it pertains to a beautiful young woman beautiful young woman with a loving family and the world at her fingertips. These girls aren't all women in prison now. Some have been released and disappeared into the mainstream. Scary, huh?  Nakisha Waddell     At age 14, Nakisha Waddell stabbed her mother, Vaughne Thomas, 43 times in their Virginia home. In court, she said she was tired of the years of fighting and just exploded. Her 15-year-old friend, Annie Belcher, helped her dig a grave in the backyard. The pair poured alcohol and nail polish remover on the dead woman and tried to ignite her to no avail.  They eventually mixed a crude concrete mixture and poured it on top of her and finished by covering her with sticks, leaves, and yard debris. She gives no reason or excuse o

Tina Brown, Heather Lee, & 16 YO Britnee Miller Killed Over Teen Jealousy

The first thing I thought of when I found this lady, Tina Brown, was that old Texas case where that mom went ballistic and tried to hire a hitman to kill her daughter's cheerleading rival. Wanda -something -or -other was her name. My sister lives close to her still. This story is even more brutal, if you can believe that. Tina's 16-year-old daughter, Britnee was on and off besties with another gal in their Pensacola, Florida trailer park, Audreanna Zimmerman. Like many teen friendships, it ran hot and cold depending on the current drama in the trailer park. In March of 2010, it was frigid and it was all over a boy. Audreanna Zimmerman Police reports say Britnee complained to her mom, Tina, and a neighbor, 27-year-old, Heather Lee, about the ongoing arguments with Audreanna, already a mom of two at 19-years-old. The trio decided to find her and hem her up so Britnee could fight her. Things got out of hand, They found Audreanna walking along a dirt road. Tina Brown u

Darlie Routier Texas

I was contacted by a penpal of Darlie Routier's who gave me some of the most recent advances in her case to share with you all. I began writing to Darlie in December of 2005 and she is one woman whom I will never understand how she got behind bars. Really. You know what else? With all the information ALREADY out there about this case, in addition to the newly discovered info, I think if you can't see this poor woman's innocence, you may just be an asshole. So many legal flubs, so much question and police innuendo that turned out to be nothing. So many fingers pointed and road blocks thrown up, I am surprised this case isn't used in other countries to point to the clusterfuck we call a justice system.  I believe Darlie could have been released ages ago if the state had done the necessary DNA testing. Sadly, Texas has tried to stop it in every unconstitutional way they could pull out of a bull's ass. BUT- there is hope on the horizon. This from Camp Darlie