University of Pretrial Library

Rebuttals to Bail Bond Industry Studies and Claims 

06-10-2019 09:35

This entry gathers rebuttals to specific publications or published materials of either the for-profit bail bonding industry or others who promote their agenda. (Last updated, 6/10/19)

Pretrial Justice Institutes responds to work of University of Tampa professor David Krahl (2019). PJI, with the assistance of Tim Schnacke, Executive Director of the Center for Legal and Evidence-Based Practices, provides a comprehensive analysis of the flaws in Dr. Krahl’s work.


The Leadership Conference: Frequently Asked Questions on Bail Reform: End Money Bail (response to American Bail Coalition) (2018). The Leadership Conference strongly denies an American Bail Coalition claim that the Conference’s concerns over pretrial assessment are a form of approval of for-profit bail bonding. The Conference responded, “lobbyists for the American Bail Coalition are trying to suggest that concerns raised about the risk assessment somehow makes money bail morally tolerable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their messaging is not only misleading, but it minimizes the human suffering that drives profits for this industry.”


George Mason University professor Megan Stevenson sends letter to Kentucky legislature rebutting American Bail Coalition memo (2018). Stevenson’s letter states that she does not consider any outcomes from her study to be supportive of negative claims about the Kentucky pretrial services program, and in fact considers Kentucky’s pretrial services as an example of evidence-based practice at its best. The American Bail Coalition had circulated a memo to the Kentucky legislature that incorrectly cited a study by Stevenson.


Assessment of the Heritage Foundation’s History of Cash Bail (2017). Tim Schnacke, executive director of the Center for Legal and Evidence-Based Practices and author of numerous treatises on the history of bail, responds to a Heritage Foundation report on the history of bail, a report which the bail bond industry frequently relies upon, and describes it as severely flawed.


The Third Generation of Bail Reform (2017). As part of the National Center for State Court’s 2017 Trends in State Courts report, Tim Schnacke, lays out the elements of the third generation of bail reform, and explains why it shows no sign of slowing down.

Legitimacy, Authority, and the Right to Affordable Bail (26 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 589 (2018)). University of Baltimore law professor Colin Starger dismantles a common bail bond industry proposition that “bail is not excessive merely because the defendant is unable to pay it.” Starger notes that the argument is illegitimate because it stems from a single “implausible Constitutional interpretation” and “it ignores Supreme Court doctrine that requires equal justice for indigents facing incarceration.”

Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective and Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option, (2013). This study from PJI demonstrates that the use of more unsecured releases, including unsecured bonds, can achieve the same public safety and court appearance rates as secured bonds while using far fewer jail beds.


Dispelling the Myths: What Policy Makers Need to Know About Pretrial Research (PJI 2012). This PJI report explains why several studies cited by the bail bond industry are fundamentally flawed, and urges caution in relying on such claims.


Bureau of Justice Statistics Data Advisory on using State Court Processing Statistics (SCPS) (2010). The Bureau of Justice Statistics took the unusual step of issuing a data advisory to make clear that SCPS had limitations in the uses and capabilities of the data. Several studies frequently cited by the bail bond industry rely on SCPS data (see also, Dispelling the Myths, for a more detailed discussion).

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