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NCJ Number: 65015 Find in a Library
Title: HAS THE BAIL REFORM MOVEMENT STALLED?
Journal: CORRECTIONS MAGAZINE  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:26-35
Author(s): S GETTINGER
Corporate Author: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Sale Source: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
801 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: BAIL REFORMERS HAVE GREATLY INCREASED THE NUMBERS OF ACCUSED PERSONS RELEASED BEFORE TRIAL, AND OPPONENTS NOW CLAIM THAT GREATER NUMBERS OF DEFENDANTS AT LIBERTY POSE A DANGER TO PUBLIC SAFETY.
Abstract: CASH BAIL IS AN ENGLISH LEGACY LEVIED TO ENSURE THAT A DEFENDANT WILL APPEAR FOR TRIAL. BAIL IN THE U.S. HAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN SET WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ACCUSED'S CIRCUMSTANCES, AND CORRUPTION AMONG COMMERCIAL BONDSMEN AND POLICE HAS NOT BEEN UNUSUAL. THE REFORM MOVEMENT BEGAN WITH THE SUCCESSFUL MANHATTAN BAIL PROJECT IN 1961 INITIATED TO PERSUADE JUDGES TO 'RELEASE ON RECOGNIZANCE' (ROR) PERSONS WHO WERE OFTEN POOR AND HAD STRONG COMMUNITY TIES. ALTHOUGH OVER 400 PRETRIAL PROGRAMS REPLACING THE CASH BAIL SYSTEM NOW EXIST NATIONWIDE, CASH BAIL STILL FLOURISHES; 42 PERCENT OF ALL PEOPLE IN JAIL IN FEBRUARY 1978 WERE AWAITING TRIAL, MANY BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT RAISE SMALL BAIL SUMS. FURTHERMORE, BAIL AND ROR POLICY DIFFERS WIDELY AMONG JURISDICTIONS. HOWEVER, STUDIES SHOW THAT BAIL REFORM HAS SUCCEEDED IN LESSENING INEQUALITIES, SECURING SPEEDY RELEASE, AND SAVING MONEY; SUSPECTS RELEASED BEFORE TRIAL GENERALLY PERFORM BETTER IN COURT, WITH ROR GROUPS EXHIBITING SIMILAR FAILURE-TO-SHOW RATES AS PERSONS RELEASED ON BAIL. HOWEVER, ROR GROUPS SHOW HIGHER PRETRIAL CRIME RATES THAN RATES OF FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT. NINE STATES NOW HAVE LAWS ALLOWING A JUDGE TO CONSIDER COMMUNITY SAFETY IN SETTING BAIL; INTEREST IN PREVENTIVE DETENTION, ALLOWING JUDGES TO DETAIN CERTAIN DEFENDANTS BEFORE TRIAL PENDING A HEARING, CONTINUES TO GROW DESPITE APPARENT PROBLEMS. LEGISLATION PENDING BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE WOULD PERMIT FEDERAL JUDGES TO PUT CONDITIONS ON A DEFENDANT'S PRETRIAL RELEASE IN THE INTEREST OF PUBLIC SAFETY, ALTHOUGH DIFFERENTIATING DANGEROUS DEFENDANTS FROM THE NONDANGEROUS REMAINS A DIFFICULT PROBLEM. SPEEDY TRIALS ARE THE BEST REMEDY TO ALL PRETRIAL DETENTION OR RELEASE PROBLEMS. (PAP)
Index Term(s): Bail bonds; Bail reform; Dangerousness; Pretrial release; Preventive detention; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Release on recognizance
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