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How COVID-19 is Killing the $2 Billion US Bail Bond Business

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a huge toll on prisons, jails, and the bail bond industry like that of Atomic Bail Bonds in Connecticut, as well. The situation has added fire to a decades-long debate on one of the biggest causes of jail overpopulation. This system accounts for a $2 billion industry in the U.S. That system is ‘cash bail’.

Well over 20,000 U.S. prisoners so far have tested positive for COVID-19. To reduce the density of inmates and curb the spread of the virus, correctional facilities nationwide released more than 16,000 people from incarceration throughout the pandemic.

Of the 631,000 people held in US jails, 74% have not been convicted of a crime. Many are incarcerated before their trial because they cannot afford to pay cash bail, whether out of their own pocket or through a bail bondsman.

As a result of the pandemic, bail bond companies have had to lay off their entire staff because there are no bonds to post.

Business is way down, as most of the criminal justice system is shut down right now, and this includes bail agents. Some agents have posted less than 10% of the bonds they normally would have posted according to industry reports.

The bail reform conversation has lately been centered on who’s dangerous enough to need to be detained when it’s really about public safety.


What are the Stats?

According to a 2015 study, people detained before trial were four times as likely to be sentenced to incarceration than those released before trial. People held for 8-14 days before trial were more likely to recidivate, or commit more crime, after completing their sentence.

About 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the US. That is the world’s largest prison population in any country by far. People not found guilty of a crime accounted for 95% of jail population growth from 2000 to 2014.

Incarcerating people before trial costs U.S. taxpayers $38 million a day. That adds up to nearly $14 billion annually.

In contrast to the way New York went about things, California passed an emergency bill setting bail at zero dollars for misdemeanors and low-level felonies and postponing trials that could result in evictions or foreclosures.

Some bail reform advocates argue that these issues span much further than cash bail. The Pretrial Justice Institute says on its website that eliminating cash bail does not fully “address bias and unequal outcomes.”

Many critics of the industry say that it’s an industry that has been built on the backs of the poor, and it does dramatically more harm than good. Both crimes and arrests are down nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic as people obey stay-at-home orders and police departments reduce operations.

If you are in need of a local bail bond company in any and all of Connecticut, that is going to answer their phone, represent you, get you out of jail, and walk you through the whole way in this stressful situation, then you want to contact Atomic Bail Bonds right now. There is no reason to wait any longer. You want to get out of jail. You need to get out of jail. There is a company that is on your side and ready to get you released ASAP.