Bill description: SB 1300 would give counties specific authorization to assess fees for individuals who are monitored under pretrial release programs. These fees can be levied prior to and during an ongoing trial.
Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board’s purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?
Currently, the state of Idaho requires individuals to post bail in order to leave jail prior to and during an ongoing trial. The Idaho Supreme Court has set a schedule for the required bail amount for each different offense (judges retain the authority to raise or lower this amount in each individual case). In most cases, the bail required is just a few hundred dollars.
SB 1300 would allow counties to implement and assess fees for a pretrial release program. A county could charge individuals monitored under the program up to $2.50 per day in addition to any costs for monitoring, drug testing, or other testing that is a condition for the release of the individual.
Currently, there is no prohibition or authorization for counties to charge such fees. The Statement of Purpose for SB 1300 states, 30 out of Idaho’s 44 counties have already implemented a pretrial release program.
The fees allowed under SB 1300 can rapidly add up for those on trial: $2.50 per day added to roughly $5 per day for an ankle monitor, $20 to $30 for a drug test, and others. In a short time, an individual would far exceed the amount that they might have otherwise paid by posting bail. For example, an Idaho resident on trial for driving under the influence for the first time, would be required to post bail of $500. If that individual works with a bail bond agent, the individual would have to pay a premium of roughly 10 percent of that to the bail bondsman. It would only take 20 days at $2.50 per day to exceed the premium the individual would have to pay for a bail bond.
SB 1300 would the shift the burden of ensuring individuals show up for their court appearance away from the private bail industry with the private sector and towards the public sector with these pretrial release supervision programs.