Do Bail Information Schemes Really Affect Bail Decisions?
18 Pages Posted: 9 May 2003
Bail Information Schemes gather and provide information on a defendant's community ties to the court. Past evaluations have concluded that schemes are effective because more defendants are granted bail. However, the evaluations include possible confounds and other limitations, thus threatening the validity of their findings. They are also incompatible with research showing that magistrates do not always attend to community ties information. Here, an experiment examined the effect of community ties information on magistrates' bail decisions on hypothetical cases. It was found that schemes do not significantly affect decisions, although they do serve to significantly increase confidence in decisions. Implications for the future of schemes are discussed.
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