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Sense and Nonsense about the Pretrial Period and Its Reform  

Author:  Matt DeLisi.

Source: Volume 36, Number 01, Spring/Summer 2023 , pp.51-58(8)

Journal of Offender Monitoring

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Professor Matt DeLisi of Iowa State University offers a dissenting view of efforts to reform bail and pretrial practices as a way to undo systemic racial bias in the justice system. Based on testimony he presented before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Professor DeLisi acknowledges the racial disparities evident in the data on serious criminal offending, but argues that while allegations of discrimination are frequently inferred from data disparities, these may or may not reflect differential, biased, or discriminatory conditions and practices. Pretrial, in DeLisi’s view, is one area where assumptions of bias are likely to be significantly overstated. As he points out, “the explicit motivation … is to maximize pretrial release, ensure court appearance and public safety, and limit jail crowding. Both NAPSA and the NIC’s Framework for Pretrial Justice have these considerations as their guiding principle. This means that the pretrial phase is inclined toward pretrial release.”

Keywords: Reforming Pretrial and Bail Policies

Affiliations:  1: Iowa State University.

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