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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99414 Find in a Library
Title: Bail Decisions in Magistrates' Courts
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:25  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1985)  Pages:251-266
Author(s): M J Doherty; R East
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This report presents findings from a study of bail decisions in British magistrates' courts, considered in the context of major bail issues debated in recent years, and discusses the prospects for further bail reform.
Abstract: The study examined bail decisions in Cardiff magistrates' courts over 6 months (August 1981-January 1982). The bail hearings dealt with both convicted (12 percent) and uncovicted defendants (88 percent). A total of 496 hearings were observed, and bail was granted in 80 percent of the cases. The bail rate for convicted defendants was 78 percent, and it was 80 percent for unconvicted defendants. Findings show the bail rate has increased in recent years, with legal provisions (primarily offense severity) having had a considerable impact on bail decisions. The influence of the police in bail decisions is clearly not as great as that reported in earlier studies. Bail decisions were not significantly influenced by defendants' ages, but females were significantly more likely than males to receive bail. Defendants without a fixed residence were less likely to receive bail than those with a fixed residence. The report concludes that the organization and management of the bail system still contributes to inconsistent decisionmaking and that a promising improvement would be the use of a defendant questionnaire pertaining to community ties. Tabular data and 20 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Bail hearing; Bail reform; Bail/Financial Release; Discretionary decisions; England
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