National Public Radio (NPR) has a great series on the problem of bail in the United States. The United States is one of the only industrialized countries that as a bail bond system. This is a system whereby private people – bail bondsman – serve as, in effect, policemen on behalf of the courts, making sure that people show up for court.
I’ve discussed how the bonding system works. But the NPR program suggests corruption in the system, whereby bondsman make political contributions to politicians who in turn make sure that alternatives to bond – pre trial release programs – are kept small so that bondsman can make money on bonds.