Bail proposal concerns sheriffs, officers

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sheriffs and police officers across the state are furious over a proposal to change North Carolina's bail law.

If state senate bill 756 passes, it will keep some people arrested from getting out of jail quickly -- on pretrial release.  You would think that would be fine with Guilford County Sheriff, B.J. Barnes, but it's not.

"I've talked to a lot of law enforcement officers and sheriffs all across the state who have all said the same thing.  This is not going to be good for law enforcement.  It's not going to be good for crime control," said Barnes.

Barnes said officers will have to wait at least two days to determine if an inmate is eligible for a pre-trial release program that helps inmates who would struggle to raise money for bond.  Not only could that crowd the jail, it could force more inmates to call a bail bondsman.

"So what's that going to cause them to do?  Maybe go out and involve themselves in some more crime?"

Bail bondsman, James Evans believes the bill is necessary and not just because it would benefit him.

"We do make money off people that bond out of jail, that's why we are in business, but keep in mind when someone gets out on pretrial... pretrial is not going out there to recover those people.  They're not doing a thorough background on them to see if they do qualify for a pretrial release," said Evans.

"In this particular case pretrial release works, so why not let it work," said Barnes.

The bill is supported by the bail bond industry. 

If passed, the bill would also prevent the state from funding the pretrial release program, but those against the bill said counties are already paying for it.

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