Is The Bail System Fair? The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act
What happens when you are arrested for a crime and are awaiting your hearing? If you have significant ties to the community, you may be released on your own recognizance. However, depending on the severity of your crime and the likelihood that the court believes you will come to upcoming proceedings, a bail will be set.
Oftentimes, the entire amount of bail cannot be paid for by the defendant. If this is the case, they often seek out a bail bond. A bail bond is when a company pays the bail on behalf of the defendant for a down payment, normally 10% of the bail amount set by the court. The down payment made to the company is non-refundable. If the defendant does not show up to court, the company that issued the bail bond is required to pay the bail amount in full. Often times, companies issuing bail bonds require other forms of collateral to ensure that the defendant comes to court, this could be the deed to a house or other property.
If the Defendant is unable to pay the bail amount in whole or offer enough collateral for a bail bonds company, then they will have to wait for their court date in jail.
Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky.,and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are working on a bill to change the current bail system. Called the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act, the bill aims to help the "450,000 Americans who sit in jail today awaiting trial because they cannot afford to pay bail."
To read the bill in its entirety, click here.