The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” It became part of the Bill of Rights in 1791 and defines the conditions under which prisoners can be held. Its significance in upholding the rule of law and the course of justice cannot be overestimated. In today’s terms, it means that if you are arrested for any reason whatsoever, you have the right to seek bail. A bail bond company can help provide the administrative necessities that will set you free while awaiting trial.
Incarceration and the justice system
It’s not a secret that the U.S. has the highest rates of incarceration anywhere in the world. More than half or 52% of all American males can expect to be arrested at least once, at some point in their lives. Given the sheer numbers, the potential for miscarriages of justice are multiplied. And more than half the prison population does not consist, as people might think, of convicted criminals, but of people who are awaiting trial.
Crowded prisons increase the possibility of miscarriages of justice
The numbers are quite staggering. In 2104, there were more than six and a half million – 6,745,600, to be exact – people being held in U.S. jails. In the one year from June 2010 to June 2011, almost 12 million people were processed through U.S. jails.
At least 60% of the people in prison on any given day have not been convicted of any crime but are just waiting for their trials. It’s no wonder that since the year 2000, jails across the country are operating at 91% capacity on average. With the prison and justice systems overloaded, the potential for miscarriages of justice increase exponentially.
How bail bond services work
Bail can be granted by the judge if the person is deemed to not pose a risk of violence or of flight. The amounts of bail can be quite high, since ordinary people don’t have thousands of dollars in spare cash just lying around. But a bail bond company will post bail in exchange for receiving a certain percentage of the bond. This is usually 10% of the full amount. So for a bond set at $5000, only $500 needs to be paid to the bail bond company for the person to be released. However, the amount paid to the bail bondsman is not refundable under any circumstances.
Protecting your Eighth Amendment rights
Barring any unforeseen changes in law enforcement, the number of people in prisons will continue to grow. For younger people, it is estimated that one out of three will be arrested at least once before they are 23 years old.
Clearly, bail bonds and the right to regain one’s freedom until convicted are an essential part of the justice system. While many people have never had to deal with a bail bond agency, there’s no telling when someone close to you may be needing misdemeanor bonds for being drunk in the wrong place at the wrong time. A bail bond service fulfills an important function in a democratic society, by helping people regain their freedom while they strive to prove their innocence.