The Champion

August 2012 , Page 11 

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NACDL News: Release With Least-Restrictive Conditions Favored Over Financial Bail

By Jack King and Ivan J. Dominguez

Read more NACDL News columns.

The NACDL Board of Directors approved the first major bail reform policy proposal in over 25 years at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco on July 28. The policy was proposed by NACDL’s Task Force on Pretrial Justice after a year of study.

NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin explained, “The proposal emphasizes release over detention, with a preference for personal recognizance in most cases. For those persons who do not qualify for release on personal recognizance, NACDL supports standards requiring judicial officers to release the defendant with the least onerous conditions possible.”

At costs that can exceed $175 per jail inmate per day, unnecessary pretrial detention is also a tremendous burden on the taxpayers, causing counties and municipalities millions that could be saved or better spent. According to the 2011 annual report of the Pretrial Justice Institute, pretrial detention costs American taxpayers $9 billion per year.

NACDL’s policy recommends that the bond decision begin with co

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