Although those in favor of eliminating the centuries-old bail bonds system suffered a much deserved setback last year in the Colorado state senate, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to saddle taxpayers with their backward, short-sighted ideas. In fact, as you read this lobbyists are working the corridors of power in Denver trying to get legislators behind new efforts to eliminate cash bail. In its stead they propose using a deeply flawed computer program no one understands, that was written by people no one knows, that releases hardened criminals with no questions asked and whose mistakes and maintenance are financed by taxpayers.
One of the loudest arguments fans of the proposed new system make is that it will save taxpayers money. The current system, they cry, forces citizens to pay for an increasing number of alleged criminals who are being held in various county jails awaiting trial. The bail-free system would greatly reduce the number of suspects being held, they say, which will save taxpayers money. At this we’re all supposed to stand and cheer and thank them for saving us from the unholy scourge of bail.
But what they don’t say is that, while releasing accused murderers and rapists will indeed save taxpayers money when it comes to the cost of pre-trial detentions, it will actually cost more to monitor all those accused violent offenders they want to set free, then it would cost to detain them. Just ask the people of New Jersey.
A few years ago The Garden State all but eliminated cash bail. It was hailed as the beginning of a new golden age when violent and dangerous criminals would no longer be forced to remain in jail against their will and dogs and cats would learn to live in peace and harmony.
Today, however, the New Jersey judiciary teeters on the brink of insolvency because of the high cost of monitoring all those dangerous individuals “reformers” have released onto the streets. Ultimately, taxes will need to be raised to keep the judiciary afloat in New Jersey. But hey, pre-trial detentions are down!
The proposed changes to Colorado bail laws represent a multifaceted failure waiting to happen. Here’s why:
Whether you live in Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, Denver County or anywhere else in Colorado the proposals being put forth to eliminate bail represent nothing less than a recipe for social and economic disaster for the state and its citizens. The most responsible course of action is not to throw the baby out with the bath water in a short-sighted rush to change. But instead, to institute actual reform which will level the bail playing field and make the bail bonding system fairer for people who are financially challenged.
For nearly a thousand years bail has proven itself an effective way to ensure both the presumption of innocence and the appearance in court of the accused. Eliminating it will do nothing but flood the streets with potentially dangerous fugitives, cost taxpayers millions of dollars and prevent victims from achieving justice. Be sure to tell your representative that Colorado needs bail.