The charlatans at the so-called “Pretrial Justice Institute” loudly proclaim to anyone who will listen that “Bail in America is unsafe, unfair and ineffective.” They use a significant amount of other people’s money to disseminate their biased brand of bunk.
Last year they scammed over $3.2 million — mostly from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. According to their website, 95% of the money that the “Institute” obtained was spent on their own personnel, outside consultants, professional services, and travel. At PJI, they are big on “raising awareness.” Though of course they seek to eliminate our livelihood, their actual goal appears to be to raise additional funds.
PJI’s 2015 Annual Report contains a “Letter from Cherise Fanno Burdeen.” After she states “that 2015 was our funniest year on record” (seriously — she really does write this), she concludes her letter by noting:
“There is still much to be done in supporting pretrial systems that meet our national justice needs and values. This includes starting a major fundraising campaign to see us all the way into the end zone by 2020.”
So clearly the folks at PJI are good at raising funds, building awareness and spreading the false message that “money bail” is somehow wrong. But how are they when it comes to implementing real pretrial release solutions that actually work?
PJI’s Executive Director Cherise Fanno Burdeen participated in a POLITCO panel discussion on criminal justice that was held at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Watch as she shares her fairy tale prediction of what she thinks will actually happen when you remove financial accountability and personal responsibility from the bail process:
“And people come back to court and they make their court appearances and they stay out of trouble pending trial and we can handle those cases in a far more humane and compassionate way.”
And everyone will live happily ever after. There will be no more fugitives from justice. No one will miss court or be needlessly pretrial detained because the magical risk assessment tests administered by dedicated government workers will accurately predict who intends to commit future crimes and who will seek to evade justice by missing their court dates.
Maybe at the “Institute” they need to stick with fundraising and “building awareness.” There already is a proven method of ensuring that accused defendants released pretrial actually do come back to court and make their court appearances. It’s called private, secured, accountable bail.
A bail agent pledges actual money with the state to guarantee that the defendant will appear in court. If the defendant fails to appear, the bail agent locates, apprehends and surrenders the fugitive back to court. If the bail agent fails to fulfill this obligation, he or she pays a substantial penalty to the state when the bail bond is forfeited. Private independent bail agents fulfill this critical role in the criminal justice system at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers.
I wonder what percentage of her paycheck Cherise Fanno Burdeen would be willing to forego for each defendant who fails to appear in court?