U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Putting a Price on Prisoner Release: The History of Bail and a Possible Future of Parole

NCJ Number
Punishment & Society Volume: 3 Issue: 14 Dated: July 2012 Pages: 315-337
Shadd Maruna; Dean Dabney; Volkan Topalli
Date Published
July 2012
23 pages
This article examines the history of bail and its affect on the future of parole.
In this article, the authors argue that the history of bail foretells the future of parole. Under a plan called the Conditional Post-Conviction Release Bond Act (recently passed into law in three States), U.S. prisoners can secure early release only after posting 'post-conviction bail'. As with pre-trial bail, the fledgling model would require prisoners to pay a percentage of the bail amount to secure their release under the contractual responsibility of a commercial bail agency. If release conditions are breached, bounty hunters are legally empowered to seize and return the parolee to prison. The authors' inquiry outlines the origins of this post-conviction bond plan and the research upon which it is based. Drawing on the 'new penology' framework, the authors identify several underlying factors that make for a ripe advocacy environment and set the stage for widespread state-level adoption of this plan in the near future. Post-conviction bail fits squarely within the growing policy trends toward privatization, managerialism, and actuarial justice. Most importantly, though, advocates have the benefit of precedent on their side, as most U.S. States have long relied on a system of commercial bail bonding and private bounty hunting to manage conditional pretrial release. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.