W.Va. bail bondsmen attack pretrial release bill

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia bail bondsmen oppose a pretrial release bill that they say would cut into their business and reduce accountability for people who flee while awaiting trial.

The House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on it Wednesday.

Proponents of the bill say that people who cannot afford bail are languishing in county jails, costing taxpayers $49 per day before they have been convicted. The pretrial release program would not apply to people until they have been in jail for at least 48 hours, so supporters said it would not have a great impact on bail bondsmen.

The bill would establish committees to determine whether people should be released before trial into supervised programs.

Pilot pretrial release programs have been successful in five counties.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

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