Punishing the Accused


Bond decisions should prioritize release over detention of defendants, and restrictions such as home confinement or curfew should be credited against sentencing, according to a policy proposal by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

In the NACDL's first major bail reform policy proposal in over 25 years, approved at the organization's annual meeting on July 28, the NACDL argues that a defendant should not be jailed unless a court makes an evidence-based determination that he is a flight risk or unsafe to his community. The proposal also notes that financial bail can lead to unnecessarily long pretrial detention for those who cannot afford the exit toll.

In support of its policy, the NACDL cites U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who spoke in support of pretrial release at the National Symposium of Pretrial Justice in Washington, D.C. in June, 2011.

“[A]lmost all of these [detained] individuals could be released and supervised in their communities – and allowed to pursue and maintain employment and participate in educational opportunities and their normal family lives – without risk of endangering their fellow citizens or fleeing from justice,” Holder said at the symposium.

Read the resolution HERE.

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