“Tour a jail in any county in the nation and chances are six of every 10 inmates are people legally presumed innocent and still awaiting trial. The majority of those inmates are stuck behind bars not based on their presumed risk to the outside community or likelihood to appear in court, but solely because they were unable to afford their bail bond.
And the people who can’t afford to pay are not typically the high-stakes defendants with bail bonds set to the tune of $50,000 plus. Far more often the people with low-stakes bonds, between $50 and $1,000, are the ones that sit in jail, unable to work, accumulating bills and costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
Why is this the case? A for-profit, unregulated, centuries-old $14 billion bail bonds industry thrives in this country. The people in the business of dishing out bail bonds for desperate defendants are looking to turn a serious profit from the high-stakes bonds, in part via nonrefundable fees charged to the defendents.” -April M. Short, Alternet