HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – On Friday, the state Superior Court Judges voted almost unanimously at their annual meeting to lower the bail threshold for people accused of a crime while raising the number of people who are eligible for it.
The vote was taken at the University of Connecticut School of Law, on Elizabeth Street in Hartford. It lowers the cash needed for accused criminals to get out on bail.
Previously, when bail has been set to $20,000 for an accused person, they had to post 10% cash to get out on bail. Starting on Jan. 1, 2024, when bail is set at $50,000 or under, the accused must post 7% cash.
Alex Tsarkov, the executive director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission said he doesn’t believe this move will let more people out, it will just allow them to recover the money if they show up for their court date.
“It makes it more affordable and that they will get their money back right, when people pay a bondsman it is a nonrefundable fee and they never see it again,” Tsarkov said.
Proposal would end Connecticut’s current bail system
The Connecticut Sentencing Commission was at the University of Connecticut School of Law campus when the justices voted. The commission released its data over the last three years showing what this 10% cash option looked like. Overall about 27,000 people have used that option to the tune of $9 million.
About 15% failed to appear in court and lost their money, they are giving back about $6 million to people who successfully completed their appearance and there’s about $2 million waiting disposition.
Officials said the idea is not to make it cheaper to get out of jail, but they say it’s making it easier to get your money back.
“I don’t know if it necessarily increases the number of people who are released, the bail bonds agents always charge less than 10% anyway, but it does increase the pool of people who can get their money back,” Tsarkov said.
The bail bonds agents say the system is failing and this only makes it worse, and they have their own statistics for the last three years.
“There are 13,251 active arrest warrants for people who missed court since January 2020, and they are still active and still out there,” said Daniel Toner, of 3-D Bail Bonds.
“Once we bond somebody out and they go into our custody we get reports on the individuals and we are responsible for bringing them back to court, they have no warrant squad in place or department, we’re just wondering who’s going to be going out to these people?” said Liza Davis of Liza Davis Bail Bonds.
The Connecticut Sentencing Commission says to keep in mind, a $50,000 bond or below is not for a high-risk criminal.