February 5, 2019
The bail bonding industry is under an aggressive attack by different groups with the same desired results, to end bail bonding as we know it. Groups such as the ACLU, the Pretrial Justice Institute, The Marshall Project, The Vera Institute, Essie Justice Group, and countless others have one thing in common, to stop cash bail. Although each of these organizations is not directly affiliated with each other they often work together to achieve their common goal, this is referred to collaboration.
When an industry collaborates in order to achieve a goal they become a stronger force instead of acting alone. The bail industry seems to have overlooked the opportunities that are available through the simple act of collaboration. There are many thousands of bail bondsman and bail recovery agents across the United States with the ability to become a strong force. Instead there is a great deal of dissention and disagreements that often turn into internal conflict.
The industry-wide infighting has enabled the opposition to garner a stranglehold for the bail reform movement. While bonding professionals are jockeying for position and in some cases, power, the opposition is running advertising campaigns and lobbying State and Federal Lawmakers. When only one side is speaking, the decision makers make their determinations based on what they have learned.
In order to survive the countless attacks coming from multiple fronts the bail industry must come together, and they need to do it rapidly. There are no groups of human beings that can all get along due to the vast differences in personalities, but they can work together. Bail professionals need to be aware that there actually is strength in numbers. A prime example of this theory is fundraising. If $25,000 was needed for an advertising campaign in a state that was under attack and only ten people helped it would cost each person $2,500. If there were one hundred people to help towards the cause then it would only cost $250 per person and the number keeps decreasing as the helping parties increases. Currently there are only a small percentage of industry professionals that are actively involved with this plague called bail reform.
Each bonding professional is acutely aware of how things operate in their home state. Without activism an entity from outside the area may be called in with the desired effect of combating the attack. The issue with this is the outside entity does not know all the participants and may or may not have any personal ties to the community. If each bonding professional donated only 10 hours per week (only an hour and a half each day) towards combating bail reform the results could be huge. Again we discuss strength in numbers, one person is only 10 hours but one hundred people is 1000 hours of information being released weekly.
How to implement needed changes
Bonding professionals must take their ego and place it in a closet for now. This is not about whom the smartest bonding person is, who the better bail recovery agent is, or who is right and wrong; this is about the ability to keep working in the industry of your choice. The only way to implement these changes is to individually accept that the industry must stick together. The infighting only helps the opposition and does not benefit the bail industry at all. To work together does not mean everyone has to like each other, it simply means that everyone has a common goal they are trying to achieve as a whole.
To start making changes is easy; each person that interacts with another bail professional should do so in a professional and courteous manner. If there is a personality conflict that should only be addressed one on one and not in a public forum. The next step is to become active against the bail reform attacks. Start by following the different national associations and choose who you support; there are currently two separate associations, Professional Bail Agents of the United States and the American Bail Coalition. It is a choice that each individual must make for themselves as each association has different methods of combating bail reform.
The bail industry must decide what will happen to the bail industry. If people do not become active and stop attacking each other, the outcome will be that an industry will disappear.
The strength of unity will prevail in the end.