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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81913 Find in a Library
Title: Release or Detention Before Trial in Philadelphia (PA) - An Analysis of Factors Determinative of Pretrial Custody
Author(s): J S Goldkamp
Corporate Author: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Ctr
State University of New York at Albany
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 85
Sponsoring Agency: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Ctr
Albany, NY 12222
National Criminal Justice Information & Statistics Service
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 76-SS-99-6038
Sale Source: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Ctr
State University of New York at Albany
135 Western Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a sample of approximately 8,300 defendants who appeared before the Philadelphia courts between August and November 1975, this study examined factors which influenced the decision to release or detain a defendant.
Abstract: The report reviews problems faced by pretrial detainees and presents a profile of the Philadelphia defendants, comparing them to the local population. The analysis first divided defendants into those who were released by the time 24 hours had elapsed after initial appearance and those who remained in detention after that period. A second measure categorized pretrial custody into defendants released by 24 hours, defendants detained longer than 24 hours but released before the final disposition of their cases, and defendants who were detained thoughout the entire preadjudicatory period. Independent variables included age, race, sex, marital status, weekly income, employment status, criminal charge, prior arrests, and prior convictions. Approximately 25 percent of all defendants in the sample were detained 24 hours after their first appearance. Of those released, nearly two-thirds were released on their own recognizance while about one-third posted 10-percent cash bail. About 12 percent of all defendants were detained throughout the pretrial period. The study found a strong relationship between the amount of cash bail required and the proportion of defendants detained after their first appearance, suggesting that judges reflect their custody preferences through the amount of bail set. Multiple regression analysis indicated that seriousness of the criminal charge and the existence of outstanding warrants accounted for the greatest variance in custody outcomes. Tables, 27 footnotes, and 25 references are included. The appendixes list variables obtained in the Philadelphia data and discuss methods used to code charge seriousness.
Index Term(s): Bail/Financial Release; Detention; Pennsylvania; Pretrial release
Note: Working Paper 12 - Third and final report in a series examining issues in the area of bail and pretrial detention
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