Whale of a Bail: How excessive bail bond prices victimize, exploit the already economically disabled
The above video exposes the negative effects of the bail bond industry, which rakes in a whopping $2 billion a year in profits. This industry thrives on those who cannot afford bail by providing them the “service” of posting their bail costs, while retaining upwards of 10% of the overall price of the bond as a non-refundable fee. Fortunately for bondsmen, since the economic toll of the 2008 recession, unaffordable bail is a common occurrence for those in the middle and lower classes, so more demand exists for their services.
There are also serious social damages incurred by the decision to take another route, and plead guilty to a crime in order to avoid going into debt in order to make bail. Take for example four years ago in the Bronx, New York, when the NYPD arrested 50,383 people for possession of marijuana, and 16,649 of those people could not afford their bails of $1000 or less. According to NY State Senator Gustavo Rivera: “[These people] plead guilty because they can’t afford to post bail and can’t afford to stay in jail. They don’t want to miss work. They don’t want to be evicted.” In other words, many accused citizens are being effectively forced to plead guilty due to the disproportion between their incomes and the bail costs associated with their trial. This disrupts the pursuit of justice and forces individualss to endure the ramifications of a criminal record, such as loss of job opportunities, difficulty finding employment, and harsher sentencing in the event of future criminal injunction.
Eric Amparan, the bail bondsman featured in the above video shed a revealing light on the bail bond industry, admitting that, “we (the bondsmen) like the system the way it is now. That’s what keeps us in business.”