By Michael J. Whitlock
June 23, 2020
The American Bail Agent Coalition (ABAC) is an extension of the American Bail Coalition (ABC). It brings agents and surety company representatives together for a common cause. ABAC will be holdings its 5th conference this week which will be held virtually (online) due to COVID-19.
I get calls and texts almost everyday from bail agents across the country, many do not even write for American Surety Company, asking about the fate of the bail industry in the United States. Do we have a future? Should we look for other work? What’s going to happen with California and No on Prop 25? So, we when I see the registration numbers for the upcoming ABAC Virtual Conference, I’m shocked at how anemic are the numbers.
Rarely does a day go by I’m not reading or watching some news segment about issues related to bail, be it community bail funds, California’s zero bail policy or the careless unsecured release of thousands of repeat offenders occurring in the nation’s 3,141 counties. So, where does this ambivalence among bail agents come from? Why the lack of engagement?
Criminal justice reform is taking at the county, state and federal level. The Biden/Harris campaign wants to end Cash Bail, the euphemism reformers have labeled the surety bail industry. So, I’m puzzled that an opportunity to gather valuable information on how the bail industry is battling needless and overreaching forms is being met with a big yawn. There is not a single day of the week I’m not in touch with someone at the American Bail Coalition about an issue facing bail, not a single day. The battles for survival are constant, the war endless. How can you meet the fight on the local level if you’re not armed with the latest information and arguments? This ABAC conference will provide the updates and information you are desperately seeking. Take advantage of this opportunity.
This conference is not a money-making event for ABAC or it’s parent ABC. The mere $99 registration fee will be donated to the No on Prop 25 campaign in California, 100%. You can watch the conference from your desktop, phone or iPad. You can pick and choose which segments you want to watch over the two days. There are other state and national associations out there doing their part. Register for the ABAC conference and get an up close look at ABC’s efforts on your behalf.
The agenda includes discussion on legislative efforts in 2020 and strategies for 2021. You will get information on efforts to regulate or eliminate community bail funds and risk assessment tools. Efforts through the radio, television, newspapers and social media to educate on the effectiveness of surety bail. There will be lobbyist and legislatures speaking about reform efforts taking place in their respective states. Information you can use in your own state. And, you will get an extensive update on the California’s No on Prop 25 campaign. A historical effort to undue legislation that will end the use of bail in the country’s largest market. If the fight in California is lost the reformers will be reenergized and will double down on reform efforts taking place in your state.
In my nearly four decades working in this industry, I’ve never seen tougher individuals, man or woman, than those working in the bail industry. You work all hours of the day and night. Seldom take a day off or even a vacation. You get your family members involved in the business, it’s your life. Educate yourself, take steps to protect this valuable commodity that is your profession.
I urge you and every bail agent you know to register for the ABAC conference today, now. The conference begins on Wednesday, Noon EST. Arm yourself. I’ll see you, virtually, on Wednesday!