Thanksgiving is typically a busy day for bail bonds companies.
“Families get together and they ask where their loved one is. They’re in jail, they talk about and say, ‘Hey, let’s put our money together,’ and they get together and sometimes come down and bail them out,” bail bondsman Greg Padilla said.
Padilla has been involved in the family business for the last 30 years, but ever since voters approved Prop 47, fewer people need to be bailed out.
“(The law) essentially took a whole list of crimes and made them misdemeanors,” Padilla said.
Padilla says his business has dropped about 20 percent. He added it’s more than the risk of his business failing – but the system as a whole.
In Sacramento County, there are currently about 65,000 outstanding warrants on offenders who failed to show up for their court date. Of them, only 268 are out on bail, meaning bounty hunters will not be actively searching for the other more than 64,000 people.
“When people do miss court, and they’re not out on a bond, law enforcement does not have the ability or manpower to go out and apprehend these people,” Padilla said. “Why not utilize an industry that does that at no cost to the tax payers?”
While Padilla understands voters believed Prop 47 would help reduce overcrowded jails, he thinks lowering bail amounts would have been more effective in doing that.