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Commercial Bail Bonding - How It Works, Summary of Final Report

NCJ Number
M A Toborg; A M J Yezer; T Hatfield; R L Fillinger; K H Shouldice; B L Carpenter
Date Published
67 pages
This summary of a report on the operations of the bail bonding system assesses the bonding industry's structure, regulations for bondsmen, bondsmen's daily activities, and the results of a quantitative analysis of bonding activities in six jurisdictions.
Knowledge of the bail bonding system's operations was obtained by interviewing bondsmen, representatives of insurance companies that underwrite bail bonds, the staff of agencies that regulate bail bonding, criminal justice officials, and persons advocating greater use of alternatives to money bail. The quantitative analysis of bail bondsmen operations in six jurisdictions obtained data from court and bondsmen's records as well as interviews with local criminal justice officials and bondsmen. Data were collected in 1980-81. The study provides insight regarding the bondsmen's role in the criminal justice system and the economics of bail bonding. Bondsmen's activities are largely responsive to the incentives and constraints pertaining to their work in particular jurisdictions. The report recommends the close monitoring of the bail bonding industry and the active enforcement of regulations to eliminate abuses. Also recommended are licensing examinations that assess applicants' ability to handle bonding activities, bonding industry self-policing, and research on the impact of deposit bond systems, pretrial release outcomes in jurisdictions without bondsmen, and the costs of alternative pretrial release mechanisms. 3 tables, 61 footnotes, and 45-item bibliography.