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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156304 Find in a Library
Title: Commercial Surety Bail: Assessing Its Role in the Pretrial Release and Detention Decision
Author(s): S Kennedy
Corporate Author: Pretrial Services Resource Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Pretrial Services Resource Ctr
Washington, DC 20005
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

Pretrial Services Resource Ctr
1325 G Street NW
Suite 1020
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This booklet presents the arguments that surety bail advocates often make to increase their influence in pretrial- release decisionmaking and then counters each argument.
Abstract: Reforms in pretrial-release decisionmaking in the past 30 years have helped promote the use of nonfinancial release options, such as own recognizance and conditional pretrial release. Nonfinancial pretrial-release options are available in every court system nationwide. These reforms have helped reduce the reliance of courts on commercial surety bail. This has forced the commercial surety industry to defend its role in the pretrial-release process. Industry proponents regularly testify before city and county boards, claiming to offer a bail option that is superior to nonfinancial release, is free to taxpayers, and is responsive to public safety concerns. They also argue that pretrial services agencies -- programs that help courts in many jurisdictions to determine the most appropriate type of pretrial release or detention for individual defendants -- should be eliminated or limited in scope to handling indigent defendants. Reliance on private business persons, however, does not improve defendant appearance in court nor safeguard public safety. Most bondsmen do not bring back defendants who abscond nor are held liable financially for failures to appear. Moreover, the abuses apparently inherent in the system and the inequity of relying on financial ability rather than suitability for release suggest that surety bail is counterproductive to ensuring equal treatment under the law and the integrity of the criminal justice system. This is made even clearer by the existence of pretrial release options that address appearance and safety concerns without the problems inherent in commercial surety bail. This booklet concludes with an outline of strategies for addressing surety bail proponents' assertions. 51 footnotes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Bail bonds; Bail bondsmen; Bail reform; Pretrial release; Pretrial services agencies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=156304

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