CEO of Palmetto Surety Scott Willis Takes on Bail Reform in The Wall Street Journal


CEO of Palmetto Surety recently offered his take on bail reform in the below letter to The Wall Street Journal: "The Bail System Evolved for a Good Reason"

The commercial bail industry is under attack, and the consequences could be devastating (“Governments Throw Book at Bail Bonds,” Business & Finance, June 8). Supporters of bail reform claim massive savings from reducing pretrial incarceration rates. However, their position fails to account for the billions of dollars in pretrial services that would become the responsibility of taxpayers.

Surety agents, like those who are members of United Bail of America, offer a series of pretrial services to defendants at a lower cost than government-funded programs can provide, including counsel on the conditions of bond, help finding employment, relocation, additional counseling, drug testing, office and home visits and review of defendant conduct while on bail. Personal interviews with potential clients—not artificial intelligence—ensure our agents have a personal financial interest in the successful behavior and appearance of their clients in court.

Justice is served when the accused obey the conditions of bail and show up for trial, and a judge or jury is able to determine innocence or guilt. The bail-bond system and surety agents protect the state by keeping the burden of funding pretrial services off the backs of taxpayers, protect citizens by making sure the accused comply with the conditions of bail and face the court, and protect the accused by providing counsel and support during what can be a confusing and trying time.

Scott Willis
Chief executive
Palmetto Surety
Charleston, S.C.