Bail bondsman Ira Judelson explains how he helped celebrity clients like Robert Durst, DMX, Lindsay Lohan, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

How Does a Bail Bondsman Work?

How Does a Bail Bondsman Work?

What do you do all day?
March 23 2015 11:20 AM

The “How Does a Bail Bondsman Work?” Edition

A self-described “bank for people that get incarcerated” explains how he assesses risk among celebrities, immigrants, and others who ask for his help.

Ira Judelson
Ira Judelson.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Jefferson Siegel.

Listen to this episode of Working with guest Ira Judelson:

In this installment of Slate’s podcast about work, host Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money and the New York Times Magazine talks with veteran bail bondsman Ira Judelson.


“I am the bank for people that get incarcerated,” Judelson says, describing the complexity of his job in simple terms. “I am, on the street, a legal loan shark. I bail people out. I put up their bond to get them out of jail.”

Judelson discusses his daily routine, the role that trust plays in his work relationships, and the famous clients that inspired the newspaper stories that adorn his office wall, including Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Ja Rule, Robert Durst, and Lindsay Lohan.

Judelson gives Davidson a tour of that wall, defends his use of a flip phone, explains how he earns a living from posting bail bonds, and reveals his passion project, an app he's developing called JammedUp that helps people who get, well, jammed up.

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Adam Davidson is co-founder and co-host of Planet Money. He also writes the weekly "It's the Economy" column for the New York Times Magazine.