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Pretrial Release and Detention (From Criminal Justice: Introductory Cases and Materials, Fifth Edition, P 355-389, 1991, John Kaplan and Jerome H Skolnick, et al., -- See NCJ-130236)

NCJ Number
J Kaplan; J H Skolnick; M M Feeley
Date Published
35 pages
After tracing the history, problems, and reforms of bail, this chapter reviews the nature and fairness of pretrial detention as well as alternatives to it.
Problems with bail are identified as discrimination against the poor and its failure to use appropriate criteria for determining who should and should not be granted pretrial release. The constitutional right to bail is examined in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Stack v. Boyle (1951), followed by a review of bail reform that culminates with the enactment of the 1966 Federal Bail Reform Act. This act creates a presumption in favor of release on recognizance without money before trial and authorizes a scale of "conditions of release" that the judge can impose during the pretrial period. A study of bail reform in Philadelphia considers whether the major issues have been resolved in reform. These issues include control on judicial discretion in granting pretrial release, presumptions of guilt and pretrial punishment, and the inequitable handling of defendants in bail practices. The discussion of bail concludes with an overview of the role of the bondsman. A discussion of the constitutionality of pretrial detention prior to a determination of guilt considers the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in U.S. v. Salerno (1987), in which the Court determined that pretrial detention based on a determination of a defendant's "dangerousness" is constitutional. The chapter then discusses whether pretrial detention is fair and summarizes alternatives to preventive detention, namely, expedited trials, restrictive release conditions, the forfeiture of the right to bail for pretrial crime, and stricter sentences for pretrial offenses. 5 recommended readings and discussion questions


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