Pima County Arizona has a new twist on “catch and release”.
Instead of fish, criminals will now be “caught and released” at the taxpayer’s expense. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Pima County taxpayers will now pay the bond for individuals arrested for specific crimes. Instead of the individual arrested, or their agent (bail bonds men), posting the money necessary to free themselves, taxpayers will now do it.
The principle of bail or bond is simple, make it hurt financially if you do not show up for court. But, under the new plan, who is hurt financially if the individual does not show up? Certainly not the arrested party whereas they have no financial interest in the matter.
The county will establish a fund to pay for the bonds. Any bond money that is forfeited simply returns to the fund. For example, I am arrested, incarcerated, use the county bond fund to post bond, go free and never show up for court. The bond that is forfeited to the court would be returned to the fund. Gives new meaning to revolving door.
The argument for this idea is that the county spends millions on incarcerating individuals who cannot afford bond and the social services. Services like foster care and the like that are the result of a single parent being placed in jail until their court appearance.
Looking at the issue from a fiscal matter, there is some validity to the plan. Saving millions of taxpayer dollars in the long run is pretty good tradeoff for potentially losing some in the short run.
Looking at the issue from the principle of governance though, shows the continuing folly of using civil authority as social engineer.
The role of civil authority is to protect property. Civil authority cannot house, clothe, feed, educate, medicate, etc. as efficiently and broadly as the voluntary action of individuals; the free market. In regard to the criminal justice system, as the primary responsibility of civil authority, we should be taxed for that. That is the only morally justified tax.
If the county is serious about saving taxpayers money, which they should be, then maybe they should consider cutting the overreach of government. For example, the largest school district in the county, Tucson Unified School District, has proposed a $585 million budget. There is no reason, other than social engineering, for civil authority to by in the commerce of education. The voluntary interaction of individuals is sufficient to meet more needs, at a lower cost and with a better outcome than the mandated “public schools”.
Paying taxes to protect property (live, liberty etc.) is not a problem. Paying taxes to do something that is best left to individuals is a problem