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Bail Association

Bail Associations

State Bail Associations
Bail associations are nonprofit organizations run by bail agents to improve the industry, promote a positive image and lobby for legislation on behalf of bail agents. Membership in a bail association is voluntary but highly recommended.

Unlike the bar association for attorneys, the bail association has no control over a bail agentıs training or testing, though the associations participate in the process. The DOI publishes, administers and grades the exams, but often the stateıs bail association offers pre-licensing courses and supplies candidates with the materials to pass the bail test. The industryıs national association, Professional Bail Agents of the United States (http://www.pbus.com), founded in 1981, promotes the professional growth of bail agents. It hosts two annual conventions and works to provide networking opportunities and improve educational standards. It also lobbies on behalf of bail agents in support of legislation related to the bail bond industry. It has over 14,000 members nationwide.

Although most associations are organized at the state level, some agents form local or county associations that help in establishing relationships with local law enforcement agencies and judges. Improved relationships help create better communication channels. If a problem arises with bail agents illegally distributing business cards on government property, for example, the law enforcement liaison to the bail association can pass the concerns along, so that the bail association can warn its members and educate them on proper marketing techniques. Or if a jail needs to establish a more efficient policy for processing defendants being released on bail and thereby alleviate overcrowding, the bail association can provide input and then inform its members of any new procedures implemented at the jail.

Programs sponsored by bail associations can improve a bail agentıs knowledge and efficiency. For example, bail associations frequently invite high-level members of local law enforcement agencies or court representatives to speak at meetings. This allows bail agents to have their questions addressed and to learn more about the inner workings of the criminal justice system. In summary, bail agent associations are critical to maintaining a unity between licensed agents and other key players in the bail industry.