Friday, April 23, 2010

Bail Bonds: The Vital Role of Bail Bond Agents in Improving the Economy

In keeping with my last blog post on the need to change the general public’s negative perception of the bail bond industry, I wanted to point out some important facts about bail bond agents that many people don’t know or understand. And many of these facts stand out to me even stronger now as we all still face tough economic hurdles.

Just yesterday, I heard another report on how the worst of the economic crisis is behind us. We, nevertheless, continue to hear reports about state and local government projects that are reaching dangerous and unsustainable deficit levels. These various crises are not limited to just one state but are a common occurrence across every state and local government in the country. But as one looks at this grim news, I still come back to the role of the bail bond agent and bail bond sureties and how we all demonstrate our value not only to the criminal justice system, but to the economic landscape overall. We do this through both tax dollars saved and tax revenue generated. As a private enterprise, the surety bail system in America provides a guarantee that a defendant will appear in court…all at no cost to taxpayers or the government. Even further, the bail bond system generates revenues for local, state and federal coffers through a variety of taxes paid by both the bail bond agencies and their bail bond insurance companies. Just ask a pretrial service agency how many tax dollars they saved today.

In addition to these revenue generating and tax saving facts, the bail industry also addresses another key concern in this economic downturn…the record high unemployment levels still facing most regions of this country. The commercial bail bond industry employs thousands of individuals in small businesses while protecting our constitutional rights and improving public safety in our communities.

Bail bond agencies throughout the country are the classic small business engine of our economy and like all small businesses their success is the success of our nation’s economy. So the next time you hear someone make a derogatory statement about the bail bond industry or a bail bond agent, stand up and correct them. Our industry is one of the most colorful, interesting and noble professions around and I invite everyone to learn the truth. Stay tuned for more on this subject.

I encourage your thoughts and comments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bail Bonds: Overcoming Negative Media Stereotypes

This week I am spending Spring Break with my family. As I spend time relaxing with my wife Tracey and our kids, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have my family. What most people do not realize is that the bail bond business is very much a family business. 

Throughout the United States, bail agencies are operated largely as family businesses, where husbands and wives, their children, and in some cases grandchildren work side by side providing a valuable service to their community and the criminal justice system. These small businesses are what America is all about. Independent, entrepreneurial enterprises where generations of family members work together to support their families and serve their clients. Unfortunately, popular media stereotypes of the bail bond industry portray a false and distorted image of bail agents as greedy, flashy and unseemly members of the criminal underclass. This false portrayal could not be further from the truth. In fact, today, more than one-half of the bail agents, including many of the best ones, are women.

Recently, I had the good fortune to speak before a large group of bail agents at a state association meeting. Yes, bail agents do work together to improve their profession and participate in continuing education. I reminded the group of agents how their daily work literally saves families and lives. By responsibly helping individuals charged with crimes get out of jail pending trial, our industry helps these individuals get back to work to help support their families. By working with a defendant and their families, bail agents encourage good behavior, which helps reduce criminal recidivism and avoid further crimes.

Bail agents and their surety companies support local charities and are involved in community affairs. Just this year, three bail agents were elected to their respective State Houses of Representatives. Personally, I am very proud of our agents and hope more people recognize that bail agents are decent, hard working members of their communities.

Please stay tuned for further commentary on this topic.  It is one that I strongly believe in and one that I think is extremely important that the bail bond industry overcome.

I encourage your comments.