A reader poses a few questions about private supervising firms that deal with people out of jail on a bail bond. We asked 19th Judicial District Court administrator Ann McCrory to address the questions, the first of which is: What is the role of these private companies? 

"These companies monitor defendants who are out on bail to ensure they are honoring the conditions set up by the judge. This could be random drug testing, community service, attending anger management classes, restitution, etc.

Why is a private supervising firm needed, as there are probation and parole agents on the public payroll?

The public probation and parole is for defendants who have been charged with committing felonies. There is no public probation and parole for misdemeanor defendants.

Who pays for the service? 

The defendants.

Are the firms supposed to act as advocates for the person out on bail?

No, they are not advocates for the individual. If anything, they are more of an “arm” of the court in that they are charged with seeing that the defendants comply with the conditions.

Request for turn lanes 

La. 16 east of Watson is a busy highway and there are several turning lanes needed for the Easterly and Oak Hills subdivisions going east and turning right into these subdivisions. Are there any plans to have the state to make these turning lanes?

Bill Grass, a state Department of Transportation and Development spokesman, says there are no projects on the letting list for adding turn lanes at these subdivisions.

Send your questions to Ask The Advocate, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809; or fax to Ask The Advocate, (225) 388-0371; or email asktheadvocate@theadvocate.com.