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TWO CLASSES OF ACCUSED - A STUDY OF BAIL AND DETENTION IN AMERICAN JUSTICE

NCJ Number
62459
Author(s)
J S GOLDKAMP
Date Published
1979
Length
279 pages
Annotation
A STUDY IS PRESENTED WHICH EXAMINES THE IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF BAIL PRACTICES TO DETERMINE HOW BAIL SHOULD BE DECIDED; THE STATE OF EMPIRICAL KNOWLEDGE REGARDING BAIL PRACTICE IS ASSESSED.
Abstract
THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF THE STUDY INVOLVES REVIEWING DIVERSE SOURCES OF LEGAL POLICY SUCH AS THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, CASE LAW, THE BAIL REFORM ACT, ADVISORY STANDARDS, AND BAIL GUIDELINES. RESULTS OF EARLIER STUDIES FOCUSING ON BAIL ARE CRITICALLY REVIEWED. EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF THE BAIL DECISION PROCESS, INCLUDING COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF DETAINED VERSUS RELEASED DEFENDANTS IS PRESENTED. OF MAJOR INTEREST IN THE EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS STAGE ARE THE RESULTS OF A CASE STUDY OF BAIL DECISIONMAKING AND THE DETERMINATION OF PRETRIAL CUSTODY IN PHILADELPHIA. THE LARGE URBAN JURISDICTION WAS SELECTED TO NARROW THE STUDY FROM LEGAL GENERALITIES TO SPECIFIC BAIL PROCESS WORKINGS. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STUDY SITE, STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF THE PHILADELPHIA JUDICIAL SYSTEM, AND THE SAMPLE DESIGN ARE DESCRIBED. BASED ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE DETERMINANTS OF BAIL AND CUSTODY, INFERENCES CONCERN THE NATURE OF THE ROLE OF PRETRIAL DETENTION. USING THE PHILADELPHIA DATA, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRETRIAL CUSTODY AND LATER OUTCOMES IN DEFENDANTS' CASES IS EXAMINED, AND CONCLUSIONS ARE MADE REGARDING THE BAIL SYSTEM. THE BAIL SYSTEM IS FOUNDERING IN IDEOLOGICAL AMBIGUITY AND IN OPERATIONAL SELF-CONTRADICTION. BAIL DECISION DEFIES OPEN SCRUTINY AND THE GOALS OF THE BAIL DECISION ARE NOT CLEARLY OR AUTHORITATIVELY ARTICULATED. CRITERIA RELIED ON IN THE BAIL DECISION ARE ABSENT, POORLY DEFINED, CONFUSING, OR EVEN INEFFECTIVE. OUTCOMES MAY BE FREQUENTLY INADVERTENT, ESPECIALLY TO THE EXTENT THAT RELEASE OR DETENTION IS DETERMINED BY THE DEFENDANT'S ABILITY TO RAISE CASH. THE STUDY QUESTIONS THE ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION OF BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND THE ACCUSED, CONSIDERING CURRENT BAIL PRACTICES. STATISTICAL TABULAR DATA, FIGURES, REFERENCES, APPENDIXES, AND AN INDEX ARE INCLUDED IN THE STUDY. (LWM)