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Bail Bonding Reform: The Persistent Nightmare

Yellow police tape labelled 'crime scene do not cross' marking outdoor area closed for police investigation

Bail reform has been a spectacular success, if skyrocketing homicides, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults and robberies are how you measure success. In Colorado, where the bail bonding company had been part of the criminal justice landscape since the 19th century, reforms have led to an outrageous spike in crime.

If you are skeptical about that let's look at some recent crime statistics issued by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation:

  • Violent crimes (the aforementioned murders, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults and robberies) are up 17% in the past 2 years.
  • Murder alone is up 47% in those same 2 years. 47%!
  • Auto theft is up 86% over the same time period.
  • And property crime is up 20%.

Not coincidentally the spike in crime began in earnest in 2019 just after the Colorado legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill eliminating bail for a number of offenses. Dizzy with delight over that accomplishment democrats and the lobbyists they take their marching orders from pushed for more.

Twice in the past couple of years, they have attempted to ram bills through the Colorado legislature that would have opened the criminal floodgates by all but eliminating the bail bond agent. They first tried with Senate Bill 62 which would have let all but the most violent offenders off with a slap on the wrist and a court date. Mercifully, however, that bill died an ignoble death after its sponsors withdrew it from consideration following public backlash. (The bill's sponsors said opponents used “misinformation” to kill the bill, which is the word those on the extreme left now use to describe any argument that doesn’t align with theirs.)

After withdrawing that bill from consideration they submitted Senate Bill 21-273 which was basically a carbon copy of the rejected SB62, but with a shiny new wrapper its sponsors hoped would go unnoticed by Colorado residents. It was a clever ploy but SB21-273 also crashed and burned shortly after liftoff when people got wind of the political sleight-of-hand being attempted by the bill’s sponsors.

The Right Path for Who?

In 2019 when governor Polis signed the law that set the current crime wave in motion Denver Rep. Leslie Herod boasted that the bill would be “putting us on the right path to end the cash bail system across the board.” At the time Leslie did not explain exactly who “us” was. But now we know. The only people who have benefitted from attempts to eliminate affordable bail bonds in Denver County and elsewhere have been repeat offenders who now know that if they get caught in the act their chances of hitting the streets again real soon are real good.

The Long, Sad History of Bail Reform

In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed one of his signature “Great Society” bills: the Bail Reform Act of 1966. Johnson eloquently illustrated the injustice of people serving time for minor offenses just because they couldn’t afford bail. It was a problem then, and it’s a problem now. But drastically cutting back on bail was not the answer then and it’s not the answer now.

Back then the surge in crime that resulted from bail reform led to voters doing a 180° pivot from supporting democrat Johnson to supporting republican Richard Nixon, who promised to get tough on criminals and bring an end to the nation’s crime wave.

Today, the grandchildren of Johnson democrats are revisiting the problem of unjust incarceration. Only instead of learning from their grandparent's mistakes, they are proposing yet again to toss the entire criminal justice baby out with the bail reform bathwater. And their efforts are yielding the same type of results the country saw in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Everywhere bail reform has been forced down the throat of voters, crime is up. Everywhere. Because for every person being released after being held for taking a right turn on red, 10 repeat offenders are being released with him who then steal his car and rob his house.

Where Colorado Went Off The Rails

The recent crime surge in Colorado is not entirely the fault of the bail reform measure signed by governor Polis in 2019. That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. For more than a decade democrats have been pushing reckless legislation aimed at making the bail bond agent a thing of the past, yet offering no viable alternative that would prevent chaos.

So-called "reforms" passed over the last decade include repealing the death penalty, limiting the discretion of judges to assign bail, a reduction in penalties for things like auto theft (any wonder it's up by 86%?), and new untried and untested programs that were supposed to prevent people from becoming repeat offenders. (News flash! They didn’t work!) So by the time we got to 2019 the snowball of chaos was already perched atop the hill overlooking Denver County, Golden and elsewhere and all it took to get it rolling was the governor’s signature on that bill that outright eliminated bail for many crimes.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The mood of voters in Colorado has turned firmly against any further attempts to appease career criminals. But sure as night follows day bail reformers will not just go away. For one thing, they can’t. They need easy targets to throw stones at in order to get the press they crave and to pad their resumes so they can cash in after (if) they leave public service. And there are few easier targets than the bail bond company.

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Tayler Made Bail Bonding is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

(303) 623-0399
3595 South Teller Street
Suite 300A
Lakewood, CO 80235