HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A proposal in the Connecticut House of Representatives would amend the state constitution to eliminate the current bail system, allowing lawmakers to create a risk-based pretrial policy.
Connecticut is currently one of a few states where prosecutors do not have an option to ask for people to be held without bond before their trial.
Those who oppose the amendment argue that the current system ensures that people accused of crimes are held accountable and appear in court.
Andrew Bloom, who owns 3-D Bail Bonds, said that in 2020, the state started a policy where people held on bonds $20,000 or less could get out of jail by paying 10% of their bond.
“So, anybody could buy their freedom for a 90% discount, put up 10%, and just run,” he said. “Nobody would hold them accountable.”
Bloom said there is a list of 13,000 rearrest warrants active in the state for people who are wanted for not showing up to their court dates.
But Michael Lawlor, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven, said the current system is a “cash cow” for bail bondsmen.
“I understand why they’re in this business,” he said. “You can make a lot of money. A lot of money, with almost no risk. I think the fact that legislatures and journalists are starting to look into this makes them very nervous, and it should. I think it’s inexcusable, this business. End of the day, they get dangerous people out of jail and people get hurt as a result.”
The conversation has been ongoing for several years. Lawlor was among efforts to change it after then-Gov. Dannel Malloy requested a thorough look at the state’s bail system.