Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

History of Bail

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_280



Although not traditionally viewed as a function of corrections, bail is an integral mechanism within the system that can allow a defendant to avoid the confines of jail in the early stages of the criminal justice process (i.e., before trial). However, the bail system – particularly in the United States – is frequently viewed as punitive for those who are denied bail as well as for those who cannot secure bail through financial means. In particular, individuals who are denied bail are immediately thrust into the correctional system despite an entitlement to a presumption of innocence. Meanwhile, indigent defendants are penalized for their inability to pay the requisite bail amount. In both scenarios, the punishment (of pretrial detention) occurs before guilt has even been determined.

Bail is commonly defined as the temporary release of an arrestee secured by a bond or promise to appear at future court hearings. Bail, as it is...

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Recommended Reading and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA