Bail Reform Act

Title of Research: Bail Reform Act

Problem or objective

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I intend to prove that the implementation of the bail reform Act risks the USA of increased rates of violent crimes due to the weak criterion for bailing, biasness in bail application for categories of criminal offense, and uncertainty in predicting dangerousness of the offenders by magistrates.

Literature review

Many scholars have indulged in research about the bail reform Act.  A brief history as given by Clayton (2018) shows that the bail reform Act of 1984 imposed by the federal government was not consistent with the constitution; thus, it created a rift between people. Different eras have seen mixed reactions to the reform Act whereby during Reagan’s era Magistrates would be allowed to determine whether an offender would cause harm to the society if released on bail as is specified by the bail reform Act of 1984 (Calaway & Kinsley, 2017; Walton, 2018).

As per Robinson & Koepke (2018), the bail reform did not apply equally to all types of crimes and was extremely hard on capital crime. It happens that people who are released under bail terms that they cannot afford remain in custody until their hearing and until they can be proven innocent (Harrison, 2017). Smith (2017) asserts that the bail reform Act encourages releasing people on the basis of their recognizance, which means that people can be released as long as they agree to appear in court. Another perspective given by Siegel & Worrall, (2018), Bartels et al., (2018) and Beichner, et al., (2017) is that it aims at preventative detention, which holds people awaiting trial so that they cannot cause harm to the society .The effectiveness of this approach is, however, questionable, and the connection between the released persons and their ability to engage in more crime remains undefined.

In a study by Rohrer (2016), the researcher tries to explain why the bail reform Act has not been adopted by states to date. One of the reasons given is that Americans hold the “hard on crime” attitude, which makes legislators be reluctant to allow the imprisoned back into society. In addition, the author asserts that the US mainly uses subjective criteria to deal with offenders, which is unfair.

According to Mullen (2019), California embraced the bail reform Act in 2007 and referred to it as SB 10. The Act did away with monetary bails on offenders. The major reason for the signing of the bail was to eliminate oppressive procedures of garnering bails from people in the state.

Many scholars have proposed the criterion for predicting the dangerousness of an offender before they are released. Berk, Sorenson, & Barnes (2016) state that the prediction methods are mostly erroneous and that the released persons end up being rearrested. Beichner et al. (2017) also support this idea by stating that the offenders are perceived as dangerous, and it might not be the case. As per Berk, Sorenson, & Barnes (2016), magistrates should consider three things to predict dangerousness. These are; domestic violence arrests associated with physical injuries, those that did not result in physical injuries, and the absence of arrests for domestic violence (Stevenson & Mayson, 2017). Berk, Sorenson, & Barnes (2016) further assert that following the specified criterion could only reduce the error by half, leaving a large margin of error and risk in public safety.

Buskey (2020) explores the classification of detainees as risky by the judges. The author questions whether there is a way to know whether a person is high or low risk and whether these classifications can be relied upon to determine the dangerousness of an individual.

As per Brown & Quilter (2014), the bail reform act may be embraced by states to reduce the remand population. While such is cost saving for many states, it does not guarantee the safety of people in society when an unfit individual is set free in society. The author states that releasing some people following the consideration of whether they can reappear in court risks the security of the population. In fact, Neubauer & Fradella (2018) state that the offender could flee if released on bail which is equally hard to predict at the time of releasing the offender on bail.

Baughman (2017) is clear that the bail reform has limited chances of increasing crime. In fact, the author quotes that the offenders that are likely to be rearrested are less than 3%. Consequently, the bail reform Act is unlikely to bring about increased crime rates. The comments are in contrast with those by Gaines & Miller (2008), who hold that there is no way to say whether those detained would commit a crime if they were to be released. Therefore, the author holds that predicting crime as a basis of giving bail is not reliable.

Research questions

  1. Why hasn’t state systems adopted the bail reform Act to date?
  2. Is the bail reform act consistent with the constitution?
  3. Are there states in the USA that have embraced the bail reform act recently?
  4. Does the bail reform Act apply to all types of crime?
  5. How accurate is predicting the dangerousness of offenders as specified in the bail reform Act?
  6. Is releasing offenders on their recognizance safe for the public?
  7. Is the classification of risks for offenders done in levels of high and low?
  8. Is it worth risking the safety of people while focusing on matters such as the possibility of the offender reappearing in court?
  9. . What is the likelihood that offenders will be rearrested with the reformed bail Act?
  10. Is preventative detention an effective approach to crime control?


The proposed methodology is a qualitative technique, and the justification for it is that the topic at hand is a social problem that requires people’s views (Taylor, Bogdan & DeVault, 2015).

Subject for study

The subject for the study is the offenders awaiting trials whose existing options are to be released on bail or being held to wait for trials based on the prediction of their dangerousness as given by magistrates. There will be no specific region of interest as the entire USA society is in question, and the bail reform is a federal concern.


Data measurement will be obtained in discrete forms because the interest of the research is in the number of articles that support the research questions, which can only take whole numbers (Thyer, 2009).

Data collection method

A literature review will be used as a data collection tool, whereby samples of literature will be analyzed for the subject at hand. More information will be obtained from interviews from experts in sociology and criminology, preferably professors on these subjects. The responses of the experts will be recorded through phone calls.


Data analysis will be through the use of narrative analysis, whereby information from diverse sources will be analyzed to answer the research questions.




















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