Freedom and Bail Bonds: The Loss of County Funds Due To Pre-Trial Services

For the more than 3,000 Texas localities floundering to stretch the budgets allocated by their already over-extended coffers, the solution may lie in using more commercial bail when it comes to pre-trial release because this comes at no cost to the county. For those asking why, the answer is simple: commercial bail works.

Studies conducted by the Department of Justice have now recently been supported by a new and independent study conducted by Robert Martin, a research professor at the University of Texas at Dallas that proves that commercial bail remains the most effective form of pre-trial release. Working in conjunction with the Dallas County Crime Commission, the study took into account the four different ways that defendants can be released pretrial in Dallas County. These include: a commercial bail bond, an attorney bond, a cash bond and a government funded pretrial release program.


The research covered more than 22,000 releases that took place in Dallas County in 2008. Results indicated that defendants released via commercial bond (i.e., a bail bond company) were significantly less likely to fail to appear in court when compared to attorney bonds, cash bonds and pretrial release bonds.

The public cost of a single “failure to appear” is approximately $1,775. By using commercial bail bonds, the county saved over $7.6 million among felony defendants and $3.5 million among misdemeanor defendants. The largest disparity in costs fell between commercial bail bonds and pretrial services bonds.

Here are the failure to appear rates broken down into categories.

• Attorney bonds                 34%

• Cash Bond                        29%

• Commercial Bond              23%

• Pretrial Service Bond         37%

Based on the results of this study alone, the commercial bail industry saved the county over $11 million dollars just by getting defendants to appear in court.  In the past, Dallas County has been forced to foot the bill of pretrial service agencies who cannot get defendants to show up and this amount has amassed into a staggering several million dollars in losses.

Request a copy of this study at and use it as ammunition the next time you read about your locality considering the limitation of the commercial bail industry and replacing it with a pretrial release program in your community.

It will make them think twice as it should.

Posted by M Dee Dubroff, on January 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM