Bail bondsman Chris Threatt believes everyone deserves a second chance. He’s here to help them get that opportunity.
Google defines a bail bondsman as a person who guarantees a bond. Bondsmen are most frequently seen in the context of bail bondsmen for criminal defendants. A bondsman provides for those who do not have the money necessary to post bail with the court. They act as a surety by providing money to the court for the person’s bail, promising the defendant will appear in court.
These actions require a bondsman to trust, consider, help and understand the defendant and their families while in distress. This is not a job that just anyone can do. The man I met on Valentine’s Day understands this.
Threatt opened the Lancaster office of his Rock Hill-based business, Southeast Bail Bonds, in early January at 1509 Pageland Highway, and held an open house there Feb. 11. It is just a coincidence that is directly across the street from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, providing a welcome sight for those who face issues dealing with the law.
Some states, such as Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin, have banned commercial bail bonding altogether, while other states, such as South Carolina, regulate the industry. Some laws governing the business still need adjusting, according to Threatt.
Giving people a second chance is great, but it should not stop there. What Threatt means by giving a second chance is to totally commit to helping the person, not just when bail is needed. Some of the people he works with need counseling, drug and alcohol facility care, training, as well as help with self-awareness and self-control.
When some people find themselves on the wrong side of the law, they may not have the mindset to do the right thing. They may be “young, stupid and dumb.” They need help from their parents, law enforcement and bail bondsmen. Staying in touch with them once the case is over is sometimes overwhelming, but necessary.
“God gives unlimited forgiveness,” Threatt says.
Threatt’s skills and daily tasks range from A to Z. Mental health also plays a part. He plays a huge role in protection, pretrial intervention and building relationships. He even has some cases involving homeless individuals, which did not happen years ago.
As we discussed the differences Threatt’s seen since he started in the bail-bonding business in 2016, we both had to smile and put it all in the perspective of the law. Laws need to fit the situation.
There are risks involved, too. Threatt must get the appropriate information when setting all of this up. Where are the defendants from? Is this their first offense? What prior issues do they have? Are their parents involved and caring? He checks in weekly with his clients to make sure promises are kept.
The worst part of Threatt’s job is when defendants try to run away. Oh, they will be caught, but the penalty is high then, more than it was before. The database kept by NCIC helps to capture them, no matter how long it takes.
Of course, the best feeling is when he can prepare a good case for these individuals and help set them on the right path.
During this conversation, it was getting clearer to me who Threatt really is. He is a God-fearing young man with a family, raised in Fort Mill. Expanding his business here, and in Rock Hill, Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas is his goal. He is very solemn about this business. He cares and wants to help because people are important to him. Since 2016, he has worked, learned and specialized in the care of his clients and is relentless in his toils. He has agents across state lines that assist him and he can be patient.
Talking with him, I learned a lot and have the greatest respect for what he does. It was if he could have been a teacher, however, I am glad that he chose instead to expand his bail-bonding business into Lancaster County.
Shirnetha Belk is a Lancaster resident.