Fizer Bonding Company, which serves bail bonds in Montgomery and Robertson counties, understands that there are things happening in the community that are difficult to talk about. Some of these things are unfortunate and often lead to incarceration and the need for bail bond services. Officials at the Nashville Downtown Detention Center had few answers after five inmates overdosed on unknown substances in four days. All but one of these incidents happened on the same day. Three of these inmates were housed in the same jail pod.
Jail staff used Narcan, a powerful nasal spray that helps drug overdose victims breath, on several OD inmates. Despite the obvious concerns and risks, Deputy Chief of Staff Jonathon Adams downplayed the incidents. “The number of incidents of this occurring in our facility is equivalent to what is occurring in the community, so it is going to happen. And as much as we try to get out there and ID these signs and look for this behavior and prevent this type of thing from happening, it is going to happen,” he said. “But I would say the fact that we are not seeing deaths associated with this is a testament to the great job our staff is doing every day,” he added. Adams only said the spike in overdose incidents was “unfortunate.”
All five inmates were rushed to a nearby hospital, where they were treated and released back to jail.
Are Jails Safe?
Before 2020 and the Coronavirus Pandemic, no one gave too much thought to health and safety issues at jails and prisons. Infectious disease outbreaks and other such incidents were few and far between. But, things are different now. During the 2021 coronavirus spike, a third of Tennessee’s inmates tested positive for COVID-19. That proportion was a lot higher than the population in general. It was also higher than the overall coronavirus infection rate in prisons and jails. The infection rate at private facilities, such as the CoreCivic prisons that dot the Montgomery County area, was higher still.
COVID-19 is the latest and most serious health threat. But it’s certainly not the only one. Social distancing is almost impossible on the inside. Additionally, many inmates have pre-existing health conditions, such as drug and alcohol dependency, which make them especially vulnerable to infectious diseases.
All that being said, the news isn’t all bad. The COVID-19 death rate in Tennessee prisons was reportedly no higher than the overall death rate. Additionally, jail staffers are trained to recognize and appropriately respond to COVID-19 infections and other such issues. So, incarceration isn’t necessarily a death sentence. However, for both health reasons and other reasons, jail is no place to be and Fizer Bonding Company gets you outta jail fast with only a 10% bond premium.
Additionally, some pandemic developments benefited inmates. During the pandemic, federal courts in Tennessee granted thousands of compassionate release petitions. A rather obscure provision in the U.S. code permits judges to release incarcerated defendants if the inmate establishes “extraordinary and compelling reasons.” State courts liberalized their release procedures as well, as outlined below.
Getting Out of Jail
Tennessee law contains a similar provision. Some long-term inmates can apply for medical furloughs. But this law doesn’t help pretrial detainees. For now, there are only three ways to get out of jail following an arrest in Tennessee.
During the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, many counties expanded their pretrial release programs. These expansions include relaxed standards and expedited review. Basically, pretrial release reduces misdemeanors, and even a few felonies, to the level of a traffic ticket. If the defendant promises to appear at trial and abide by a few other conditions, the sheriff often releases defendants who pay a small processing fee.
These conditions vary in different jurisdictions and for different offenses. General conditions include reporting to a supervision officer and remaining in the county. Offense specific provisions include an ignition interlock device in DUIs and a keep-away order in assaults.
Under the law, nonviolent and nonthreatening offenders are eligible for pretrial release, which often has a powerful impact on a later guilty or not guilty verdict. The new standards in some counties make pretrial release available for semi-violent crimes, like stalking. The “nonthreatening” requirement used to mean no criminal record. Now, some counties consider some offenders who have no recent or violent criminal history.
Nevertheless, pretrial release is available only for a select few. In almost all cases, the choices are cash bail and a Fizer bail bond near you.
Health and safety concerns haven’t affected the cash bond process very much. During the Montgomery County booking process, inmates may pay the presumptive cash bail amount and secure their own releases. But these concerns have changed the way some Clarksville bondsmen do business.
Lower income people are very price sensitive. A few dollars more, or less, usually make a good or service unaffordable or affordable. In response to the needs of the community, some bonding agencies have reduced their premiums by a few percentage points. That might not seem like much to some people. But to many people, the small change makes a world of difference. Fizer Bonding Company usually charges a small 10% bond premium.
Bail bond premiums are a bit like insurance policy premiums. If Sam pays X dollars for an auto insurance policy, the insurance company bears the financial cost of an accident. If Sam, or Sam’s friend, pays X dollars for a bail bond, if Sam is unable to fulfill all bond conditions, as mentioned above, the bonding company bears the financial cost of bond forfeiture.
Presentence Incarceration Alternatives
Sometimes, the presumptive bail amount is too high, even for a bail bond. Other times, the sheriff doesn’t set a presumptive amount. These things are especially common in violent felony cases.
However, these things don’t necessarily mean extended pretrial detention. That’s very good news for these defendants. Pretrial release unlocks a number of criminal defense options in these cases. Defendants who are in jail usually don’t want to aggressively challenge the state’s evidence. They just want to plead guilty and get it over with.
If bail is unaffordable or unavailable, an attorney can address this issue at the arraignment, which usually happens about three days after an arrest. At a bail reduction hearing, the judge must consider many factors in setting bail, such as:
- Severity of the offense,
- Defendant’s criminal record,
- Amount of evidence against the defendant,
- Defendant’s ability to make bail, and
- Defendant’s threat to specific witnesses or the community at large.
Sheriff-set presumptive bail usually only considers the first two bullet points. Once a judge sees the whole picture, the judge usually sets bail at an affordable price, especially if the judge is sensitive to the Eighth Amendment guaranteeing reasonable bail in criminal cases.
Electronic monitoring is a popular alternative for both prosecutors and defendants. The state keeps a close eye on defendants without paying to incarcerate them. Defendants get to stay home. Moreover, electronic monitoring fees can be lower than a larger bail bond premium.
For more information about getting an affordable bail bond for pretrial release for you or a loved one, contact the Clarksville, TN bail bonds professionals at Fizer Bonding Company. Our bondsmen are available 24/7 and we respect your dignity and privacy. Payment options are easy and affordable. We are also family owned and operated for over 40 years. Fizer Bonding Company is a proud member of the Tennessee Association of Professional Bail Agents. More value added FREE information can be found in our online articles.
“We’ll get your tail outta jail!”
Fizer Bonding Company in Montgomery County Tennessee
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