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Bondsman Lobby Targets Pretrial Release Programs
In Broward County, Fla., it’s generally Judge John moncler outlet sale Hurley’s job to look through arrest reports and make sure he keeps the dangerous people in jail and let the people who are not dangerous out.
moncler sale To do that, he has basically three choices. He can release defendants on their own recognizance, which he does moncler sale outlet for small crimes like driving with a suspended license. Or he can grant them bail. Many won’t be able to cheap moncler afford the bail Hurley sets, so they will pay a bail bondsman moncler outlet a nonrefundable fee usually about 10 percent to do it for them. moncler sale
And then there’s the third option: pretrial release, a county funded program that gets people out of jail and cheap moncler sale keeps tabs on them using things like ankle bracelets, phone calls or drug testing. It used to be one of Hurley’s favorite options. But these days, he doesn’t get to use it very often.
cheap moncler outlet The program can’t handle many defendants monlcer down jackets anymore. cheap moncler outlet
moncler outlet jackets “The bondsmen think pretrial is stealing their business,” Hurley says. “But I don’t want to get into the mix. I don’t want to get into the political aspect of all this.” moncler outlet jackets
Gutting The Program
moncler outlet Here in Broward, the once thriving pretrial release program now operates out of barren offices across from the courthouse. Pretrial officers like Bret Gibson monitor their few clients by tracking their whereabouts through GPS, ankle bracelets and electronic monitoring. moncler outlet
moncler sale outlet Gibson watches a map on his screen, monitoring the whereabouts of a woman who was four minutes late getting home. The woman texts Gibson that she’s now in the house, which the computer is confirming is in fact true. moncler sale outlet
For this woman, and many others like her charged with petty offenses, this program is the difference between spending months in jail waiting for a court date and being able to save her job, pay her bills, keep her home and see her family.
For the county, this program or at least the way it used to be means something else: saving a lot of money. Broward’s pretrial program costs about $7 a day per inmate. Jail costs $115 a day, says Kristina Gulick, who runs the pretrial program.
moncler outlet online A Bail Alternative That Lowered Jail Numbers In Broward County moncler outlet online
cheap moncler coats After a steady increase in Broward County’s jail inmate population, the average population started to decline in 2007. That’s the same year that commissioners doubled funding for Broward’s pretrial release program. Experts tell NPR that the impact of the same commissioners’ decision to gut the program last January will not be seen on inmate population numbers until this year. cheap moncler coats
“It costs a quarter of every county tax dollar to run our jail system in Broward County,” Gulick says. “It’s the largest single expense to any county taxpayer.”
Program A Success, But Not For Bondsmen
moncler outlet store But it wasn’t just the money that made the program valuable. moncler mens jackets Three years ago, the Broward County jail was so full, a judge called the conditions unconstitutional. moncler outlet store
moncler outlet uk Instead of building a new $70 million jail as they had proposed, county commissioners voted to expand pretrial release, letting more inmates out on supervised release. Within a year, the jail population plunged, so much cheap moncler outlet so that the sheriff closed an entire wing. It saved taxpayers $20 million a year. moncler outlet uk
And, according to court records, the defendants were still showing up for court.
Commissioners called the program a success. But then a year ago two years after commissioners voted to double the program’s funding the same commissioners voted at an otherwise mundane meeting to gut it.
The ordinance strictly limits who can qualify for pretrial release and cuts the program back by several hundred defendants, officials say.
Broward’s pretrial officials were stunned. The county’s public defender, Howard Finkelstein, was in disbelief.
“I don’t know if what happened was illegal or unethical,” says Finkelstein. “I can tell you it stinks all the way to the rafters.”
cheap moncler jackets Who, they wondered, could possibly be against this program? It turns out, in Broward County, 135 people more precisely, 135 buy moncler jackets bail bondsmen who had them completely outmatched. cheap moncler jackets
moncler factory outlet The Bail Bonds Lobby At Work moncler factory outlet
moncler jackets outlet Bondsmen Wayne Spath makes no apologies for leading the charge against pretrial. moncler jackets outlet
cheap moncler jackets sale ‘We’re tenacious; we do our job,” Spath says. “People should not just be released from jail and get a free ride. I mean, this is the way the system’s got to work.” cheap moncler jackets sale
Spath argues that pretrial release costs taxpayers too much money. And, he says, it was hurting his business.
So he moncler outlet store and the other bondsmen did what any self respecting private business group moncler sale would do: They hired a lobbyist, Rob Book.
“To be perfectly arrogant about it, I’m considered if not the best, [then] one cheap Cheap Moncler Jackets moncler jackets of the best in the state,” says https://www.thebeastmark.com Book. He has been lobbying for bondsmen in Florida for more than a decade cheap moncler coats.