In his Nov. 9 op-ed, "Leave Md. bail system alone," state Sen. Michael Hough proceeds from the false premise that our current bail system "costs taxpayers nothing." In reality, the system costs poor taxpayers a great deal. This is because poor Marylanders ordinarily must pay private bondsmen a 10 percent non-refundable fee in order to post bail.
Imagine a judge orders a $10,000 bail. This amount is beyond the means of most poor folk, so a defendant's only hope of pretrial freedom is to pay a bondsman $1,000 to cover the full amount. The bondsman pockets this $1,000 even if the defendant appears for court or has his charges dismissed. Such a system cynically takes resources from the communities that can least afford it and helps perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
So say what you will about our current bail system. But don't say it costs taxpayers nothing.
Colin Starger, Baltimore