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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77312 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) Bail Administration Program Development Study
Author(s): R W Surridge
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 93
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines bail setting practices in Lancaster County, Pa., and applies a traditional planning process model to them.
Abstract: Public records were examined to analyze the bail decisions of all 20 magistrates in the county during 1979. A total of 55 percent of the defendants were released on their own recognizance; the remaining 45 percent were ordered to post a cash bail. Bail was not denied for any defendants during this period. Although younger, minority group, nonresident defendants were more likely to be required to post bail as well as defendants who had appeared in county court more than three times, the nature and seriousness of the primary charge lodged against the defendants was the major factor in magistrates' decisions to release individuals on their own recognizance. An analysis of the county's bail program using a seven-step planning process (which consists of a system description, future projection, development and analysis of alternatives, resource allocation, evaluation, and process repetition) led to the development of several recommendations. Bail setting guidelines should be established at the county level to supplement general State standards. The nominal bail program currently under development should be used as a basis for planning a more comprehensive bail setting program if it proves successful, and magistrates should adopt additional criteria for making bail decisions (such as increased emphasis on the degree to which the defendant constitutes a threat to the community). This paper also includes an extensive discussion of the American bail bond system, the Lancaster County bail program and criminal justice system, and the planning process as it applies to bail administration. Tabular data, footnotes, and a 23-item bibliography are provided. Appendixes include samples of the docket transcript forms from which data were gathered and a discussion of criminal charge categorization.
Index Term(s): Bail discrimination; Bail reform; Bail/Financial Release; County courts; Pennsylvania; Planning; Policy analysis; Release on recognizance
Note: Pennsylvania State University - master's thesis
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