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NCJ Number: 77287 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Bail Decision Study - Dauphin, Lancaster, and York Counties, 1979
Corporate Author: Pennsylvania State University
Institute of State and Regional Affairs
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 65
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Pennsylvania State University
Middletown, PA 17057
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report summarizes findings from a study of bail decision outcomes and bail practices in the south central Pennsylvania counties of Dauphin, York, and Lancaster.
Abstract: Primary concerns prompting the study were inequity and disparity in current bail practices, and the costs incurred by counties for the incarceration of individuals who could be released while awaiting trial. Study methodology involved review of bail administration information, compilation of 1979 county bail decisions, description and empirical analysis of bail decisions, and discussion and empirical analysis of bail decisions, and discussion of bail practices and issues. Types of bail available in the counties included release on recognizance (ROR), nominal fee, cash, property, surety, and posting 10 percent of the amount stipulated. Study findings reveal that the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure concerning bail are inconsistent and of little practical use in the bail decision process. There are differences between the counties in the bail decision outcomes for similar defendants. Dauphin and Lancaster Counties released approximately 55 percent of the defendants on ROR, while York County released 37 percent. Lancaster County relies on a 10-percent bail program for monetary bail, while York and Dauphin Counties depend on bail bondsman to act as surety for defendants. The primary decision criteria used by the district magistrates at bail setting is the nature of the defendant's charge; a nonserious charge usually means ROR, and a serious charge means high bail. The manner in which individual magistrates rank seriousness caused decisions to vary for cases with similar demographic and legal characteristics. Moreover, the rationale for using charge seriousness to assess defendants' propensities toward pretrial flight or crime is not supported by recent empirical research. It is concluded that excessive reliance on the seriousness of the primary charge is an inequitable practice. Percentage bail eliminates much of the inequity attributable to the use of bail bondsmen. Footnotes, tables, 22 references, and two appendices are included in the report. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Bail bonds; Bail discrimination; Bail hearing; Bail jumping; Bail reform; Bail review; Bail/Financial Release; Pennsylvania; Release on recognizance; Studies
Note: Report prepared for the Southcentral Region Advisory Committee, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
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