« on: March 05, 2014, 09:27:34 pm »
I will attempt to explain the process of bailing an individual out from our facility.
On weekdays until 4pm, all bails are held at the courthouse. After 4pm, they have to come to one of our locations to do it. We have two, one in the town I work in and one in the neighboring city (which, incidentally, is the oldest working jail in the US – there are boarded up trap doors from where they used to have hangings). The bails are held at set times and are conducted by the Bail Clerk.
The Bail Clerks are Clerk Magistrates. They make $40 cash for every bail they process, be it $10,000 or $50 – an hour’s work can rake in a few hundred dollars for these guys, who are already compensated well into six figures for their regular jobs (this came under scrutiny recently when a clerk in Boston posted bail for the son of the area’s most famous sports announcer, who was locked up for beating the crap out of his girlfriend, and the man promptly left the jail and killed her). They’re on a rotation.
The bails are held at set times every day – 4:30, 7:30, and midnight, at both locations. At both locations. A single bail clerk works. If you are asking how an individual can be in two places, you have spotted a flaw in our system. The clerks themselves determine which of the locations they will be visiting in which order, based largely on their present whereabouts. People looking to pay bail are expected to check in at the proper location at least a half hour before the bail time, so 4:00, 7:00, and 11:30. On top of the half hour wait, they wait for every bail in line before them, and possibly at every bail at the other location, as well as transportation time for the bail clerk. Waiting two hours is not uncommon. There is no lobby or waiting area – they wait in their cars. Oh, and bail clerks can cancel certain bail times, day of. One of them has a policy of no bails at midnight at my location on weekends.
A person navigates this labyrinthine system and comes to my location more than a half hour prior to the next bail period –w hat now? Well, there’s no sign directing them where to go. They drive down a winding access road, past three buildings, to a parking lot where a sign reads “Bail Parking.” The sign faces away from the parking lot. It has no further instructions. Sometimes, sometimes, a K-9 officer notices them and directs them how to proceed, provided one is in the area and one is even on duty.
The person does not go to the front entrance, nor to the gate where the bail is actually conducted. They are to go to the women’s holding facility, whether they are bailing a woman out or not. It is the least obvious entrance, again with no sign, and the most recessed of the three buildings on the road. They inform the officer at the desk that they are here to bail as well as who they are here to bail. They are instructed to go wait in bail parking.
That officer then contacts the receiving area of the jail where the bail will actually be conducted. The receiving area informs my department, either with a phone call or by sending the paperwork we need to go through up the pneumatic tube. We run the paperwork and send it back down to them. The bail clerk then calls us and we inform the bail clerk how many bails are on the property. On duty K-9 officers have us run thorough warrant, vehicle registration, and driver’s license checks on every individual in the vehicle.
The first bail period coincides with the day shift getting off of work, so naturally they are asked by the confused bail parties how to go about bailing somebody out. The employees, almost universally, do not know, and direct them to bail parking without informing anybody. If nobody notices them, the bail period comes, and goes, and they are waiting there completely unnoticed. If they check in at the front entrance rather than the women’s center, the officer staffing the reception area may or may not inform the appropriate areas that they are on site, so the bail period will come, and go, while they wait there completely unnoticed. If, like today, the extended game of telephone wherein they talk to one officer, who tells another officer, who tells us, who tell the bail clerk, fails by one of those people down the line not telling us, we are not able to tell the bail clerk and the bail period will come, and go, while they wait here completely unnoticed.