A bail reform movement is trying to do away with “money bail” across the country in favor of taxpayer-funded bonds. The move is being carried out in the name of equity and racial fairness, but opponents see a political motivation in action.
Michael Kubosh, Harris County bail bondsman, says the proposal is a bad idea. “There’s a move to do away with commercial or cash bail, and to arrest people and process them into the system, get their fingerprints, their photograph, and then basically release them and put the burden on the taxpayers,” he explains.
“Commercial bail is saving the taxpayers of this city over $1.200,000 a day, watching people that otherwise would be in custody,” Kubosh explains. “Taxpayers are benefiting by commercial bail to the tune of about $400 million a year by us watching criminals who have been bonded out by commercial bail agents.”
Under the current system, Kubosh points out, bail bondsmen fail to round up court no-shows less than 2% of time. “When you do not have commercial bail,” he says, “and you just simply arrest somebody, give them a taxpayer-funded bond—that’s what a pre-trial release bond is—it is costing the taxpayer $1400 per bond.” With no accountability placed on the person bonded out, Kubosh says, there will be a rise in no-shows.
Kubosh says the bail-bond system is “the only part of the criminal justice system that actually pays into the system and doesn’t take money from the government.” More than just taxpayer dollars are at stake. “It’s going to be painful to the people in the community,” he says. “These people are going to be brought in, fingerprinted, photographed, [and] released. They’re going to go right back to stealing stuff.”
Indigents who have a genuine need, and don’t pose a threat to society, are a different matter, Kubosh says. “We need to do better at pretrial services actually bonding indigents,” he admits. “Let commercial bail bond the others.”
Opponents of the bail reform movement say leftist billionaire George Soros is providing a lot of its funding. “Obviously he has supported a lot of district attorneys,” Kubosh says. “I believe that’s true, looking at the financial reports of DAs who have won. I know our DA here received a $500,000 contribution.” Democrat Kim Ogg was elected Harris County DA in November.
What happens if the bail reformers are successful in Harris County? “Once you destroy the system, what do you do when it fails?” Kubosh asks. “And that’s what they’re going to do. They want to destroy the system.”