Bail bonds reform is a movement within certain quarters in the government that aims to change how bail is set for people who are about to go to trial. Unlike the #MeToo movement which is gaining traction around the world, the movement to reform the bail bonds system still needs to get mass support from the public as well as legislators and other concerned parties.
How is bail set in the United States? Before someone goes to trial, the judge will set the bail amount. The figure is actually very random and there is no telling why anyone would have to pay that kind of amount. As it is right now, even petty crimes require a bail bond amount of tens of thousands of dollars.
A drug addict might mug his neighbor for two dollars and a bottle of gin and yet be slapped with a fine of $50,000. With bail bond companies, you could get a $5000 loan, which is equivalent to 10% of the bail amount. For most people, this is basically out of reach and they lose their jobs and their families as they are all there awaiting trial, languishing inside a jail.
Supporters of bail bond reform contend that the current situation only exacerbates the plight of the poor who may have nothing else at the time that they committed their alleged crime. Because they cannot get out of jail before trial, their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is actually infringed on.
As it is right now, there is no piece of legislation in Congress or the Senate that will move to change the bail bond system. California though is inching towards change, however, there still a long way to go. There are only politicians who are emphatic about the need for reform in the justice system.
Part of the problem is that most legislators are actually friendly with bail bond companies and they stand to lose monetary support if they approve changes. Ideally, a bail should be set according to how dangerous a person is to society and his capacity to pay instead of being random.
Still, we can only hope that change is coming soon. If there are serious offenders, there are those who are victims of mistaken identity. And it would be a tragedy to have lives put on hold just because they are unable to pay the bail.