Study: Setting bail ‘monumental task’

Posted March 23, 2011, at 11:17 p.m.

From the 2006 study, “Pretrial case processing in Maine” submitted to Maine’s Correction Alternatives Advisory Committee:

“The quantity and quality of information provided verbally over the phone to Bail Commissioners for bail consideration related to criminal history and criminal justice matters varies significantly between law enforcement agencies and jails. … The bail decision, to release or detain a defendant pending trial and the setting of conditions of release when appropriate, is a monumental task. This task carries significant consequences not only for the pretrial defendant but also for the safety of the community, the integrity of the judicial process, and the utilization of our often overtaxed criminal justice resources.”

The author of the study Marie VanNostrand, said in an interview that compared to bail-setting officials in other states, “on average, the bail commissioners in Maine receive significantly less information on a defendant when they’re making their decision about bail.”

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