Pretrial Release Service Agencies Fail in Comparison to Bail Bond Releases

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AIA Highlights the Houston Pretrial Service Agency Data Showing how Surety Bail Bonds Outperform Taxpayer Funded Pretrial Release.

The number of defendants released on pretrial service vs. surety bail bond who failed to appear.

“Always these studies showed that financially secured release pending trial dramatically outperformed unsecured release such as those released via taxpayer funded pretrial service agencies.

In a letter from the former Director of the Houston Pretrial Services Agency, Charles Noble advises AIA of information tracked by that office on the performance of release on surety bail bond vs. release on personal bond. The numbers unquestionably confirm the fact that defendants released on a surety bail bond are far more likely to make their court appearance than those defendants released through a pretrial service office on personal bond.

In Texas, the Code of Criminal Procedure requires that pretrial service agencies report exactly how many defendants are released through taxpayer funded pretrial service agencies and how those defendants perform. These reports show the performance difference between commercial bail defendants and pretrial service agency defendants.

According to the report from 2006 -2008 the Harris County numbers are as follows:

In 2006 4,138 defendants were released on a pretrial bond and 12.9% failed to appear vs. the 5,935 defendants released on a bail bond with the number that failed to appear only 6.0%.

In 2007, 4,310 defendants were released on a pretrial bond and 13.6% failed to appear vs. the 6,009 defendants released on a bail bond with the number that failed to appear only 6.0%.

In 2008, 4,600 defendants were released on a pretrial bond and 12.0% failed to appear vs. the 6,558 defendants released on a bail bond with the number that failed to appear only 6.0%.

“For 22 years, the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics has analyzed performance in terms of court appearance compliance among hundreds of thousands of state case felons,” said Jerry Watson, AIA Chief Legal Officer. “Always these studies showed that financially secured release pending trial dramatically outperformed unsecured release such as those released via taxpayer funded pretrial services agencies. Recently the defendant friendly U. S. Justice Department ordered that the multi-decade findings of their own studies should not be relied upon. Now the Houston study provides the same findings as all of those ‘to be disregarded’ U. S. Justice Department Reports.”

“The Houston study indicates that maintaining and reporting quality data among Texas pretrial service offices may leave something to be desired but overall Houston’s does a good job. Data integrity and bail management is very important to our organization,” added Robert Kersnick, AIA Chief Operating Officer.

Another interesting fact that became apparent while reviewing this data is the number of defendants being released on personal bond has increased despite the failures of their performance.

About AIA
The AIA family of companies has been partnering with agents across the country for over a century. Formed in 2003 as an alliance of the surety bail industry’s leading companies Allegheny Casualty, International Fidelity and Associated Bond (AIA) utilizes a unique “service- focused” approach to management, that provides its family of agents with the knowledge, tools and commitment they need to grow their business and succeed. With over 150 years of combined experience, AIA has become the overwhelming industry leader in agent service, national coverage, bail written and number of agents.

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Dee Hale
AIA
800-935-2245 ext. 6051
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Eric Granof
AIA
800-935-2245 ext. 6024
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