$2 billion, every year. That’s how much the money bail industry takes from Americans who find themselves trapped in a system shaped by wealthy corporations with a singular goal: building their bottom line.
The bail industry is actually controlled by a shadowy cartel of large wealthy corporations, and their goal is to grow profits by expanding the number of bonds issued, increasing bond amounts, offering ‘new products’ like post conviction bonds, and protecting a predatory system that extracts billions from low and middle class families.
The large corporate players include:
This corporate consolidation has made the money bail cartel extremely powerful, having compiled plenty of resources to buy political power and influence legislation.*Endeavour Capital recently sold its stake in Aladdin Bail Bonds. We will update once the new owner is identified.
The American Bail Coalition has been abusing our governments’ pay-to-play system, tripling its spending from around $400,000 to $1.2 million between 2012 and 2014.
And the money keeps flowing. If any state or local government so much as discusses criminal justice reform, the American Bail Coalition is always close behind; fighting to protect their bottom line.
In 2014, the industry vehemently opposed Proposition 47, a ballot measure that threatened their profits by reducing the penalties for certain low-level offenses: the kinds of profit-padding offenses the industry would call its “bread and butter.”
And just last year, the American Bail Coalition spent BIG to defeat SB 10 - a law that aims to wipe out the industry in California as we know it.
Between 2009 to 2017, the incredibly profitable money bail industry spent $6.4 million lobbying state lawmakers. In the last two decades in California alone – the money bail cartel has spent $1.76 million to lobby state lawmakers, and an additional $3.2 million in campaign contributions.
By working closely with a shadowy think-tank called the American Legislative Exchange Council - which exists to bolster the political power of clients like the NRA and fossil fuel companies - the American Bail Coalition has been able to write their business model and profit margins into state and federal law.
In 2010, the Coalition helped write legislation to criminalize immigrant families, hoping to increase the number of non-refundable premiums they could take from desperate immigrants who have been detained. (Arizona, SB 1070)
Through the American Legislative Exchange Council, the American Bail Coalition has written at least 12 “Model Policies” regarding bail; a recent effort calls on states to require prisoners seeking early release to put up a bond first - vastly expanding the money bail cartel’s bottom line.
Dutiful politicians, having taken massive donations from the money bail cartel, spread these “model policies” like a virus through legislatures across the country - creating a criminal justice system that keeps the cash flowing from families who can’t afford bail to powerful corporations at the top.
In fact, during the last three decades, reliance on commercial bail has more than doubled from just 23% to almost 50% - and bail amounts have increased by 270% - while national crime rates have declined significantly over the last 25 years.
The money bail cartel’s financial and legislative power is why the United States is one of just two countries in the entire world to use the money bail system, and it’s why - unless Californians stand up to the money bail cartel in November 2020 - they will continue to legally ransom and extort families to make a profit at the expense of justice and public safety.