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Outsourcing Justice: The Role of Nonprofit Caseworkers in Pretrial Release Programs

NCJ Number
Ursula Castellano
Date Published
190 pages
This book examines the role of caseworkers in pretrial release programs.
This book is organized into three parts. Part 1 consists of the introductory chapters 1 through 3 which chart out the book's theoretical framework, the history and internal organization of the San Miguel courthouse community, and a descriptive account of caseworkers' occupational experiences administering justice. Chapter 2 describes the bail reform movement and jail overcrowding crisis of the San Miguel Hall of Justice. Chapter 3 explores how nonprofit agencies in the criminal justice system reduce rates of incarceration. Part 2 is the ethnographic core of the book and consists of the empirical chapters 4 through 7 and presents the main findings. Chapter 4 uses data to illustrate how caseworkers operated at the forefront of the risk assessment stage to conduct character evaluation and assemble evidence of defendants' entitlement to be released on own recognizance (ROR). Chapter 5 explores the organizational level negotiations and disputes in the courthouse community over the criteria guidelines for judging release eligibility. Chapter 6 highlights how caseworkers expanded their occupational expertise into the early stages of legal adjudication. Chapter 7 explores how caseworkers policed defendants' compliance with the terms and conditions of their release. Part 3 contains chapter 8, which summarizes the findings of the book, and states that outsourcing justice alters traditional role expectations for caseworkers, legal officials, and defendants. Also discussed are the main findings and suggestion as to which direction future research should take. Appendix, references, and index