HARTFORD--"Dog the Bounty Hunter" and his family are known from their television show, on which they famously pursued fugitives for eight seasons.
Duane "Dog" Chaptman's wife and business partner, Beth Chapman, also known as “Mrs. Dog,” is now taking on another role, as the president of the Professional Bail Agents of the United States.
On Monday, she was in Hartford at the Capitol, lobbying against a portion of Gov. Dan Malloy’s Second Chance Society bill this session, specifically bail bond reform.
Chapman has been to several states, pushing against a national movement towards no-cash bail, which she claims had devastating effects on states like New Jersey and California, both of which have passed reforms.
"Bail agents assure that the person returns to court to face whatever charges,” said Chapman. “Pre-trial release has no one assuring the person is going to return to the custody of this court, so frankly, the crime rate is going to go up in Connecticut, the failure to appear rate is going to go up in Connecticut."
Malloy’s proposal would eliminate cash bail for defendants charged with non-violent misdemeanors, among other changes.
His policy leaders say that currently, those who can afford to make bail get out with a notice to appeal, and poor defendants end up staying in jail for these non-violent crimes, causing crowding and racking up state tax dollars. Last year FOX 61 reported that hundreds of offenders remained in jail on bonds of $20,000 or less.
"The problem we're trying to solve here is the guys that should be locked up pre-trial here, the gang bangers aren't, because the bail bondsmen take them out,” said Mike Lawlor, the undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning for the state. “The low level, non-violent guys are sitting around there for a couple of months costing the taxpayers a lot of money, where we'd rather be more focused on the high profile guys."
Bail reform is in Governor Malloy's Second Chance Society bill, which is expected to come up before lawmakers before the end of session Wednesday.