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Criminal Law & Procedure: Bail/Pretrial Issues


The following is a non-exhaustive list of keywords that can be used in search engines like Google and in the Law Library's Research Databases:

Bail, bail reform, cash bail, cash only bail, money bail, commercial bail bond industry, bail commissioner, professional bondsmen, bounty hunters, pretrial release, judicial discretion, release on recognizance (ROR), financial release, conditional release, pretrial services,  pretrial services agencies (PTSA), pretrial justice, discrimination, race discrimination, poor, indigent, economically disadvantaged, electronic monitoring, GPS monitoring, criminal procedure, equal protection, due process.

Suggested Readings

In addition to the Treatises, Hornbooks and Nutshells on Criminal Law and Procedure listed on the Secondary Sources webpage in this LibGuide, the following suggested readings may be of interest:

Research Guides

In addition to traditional legal resources, law students have access to numerous criminal justice resources in print and online through Snell Library. See Snell Library's Research Guide on Criminal Justice to identify potential resources.

National Conference of State Legislatures

Articles & Reports

Use the keywords on the left to find articles on bail and pretrial services online and in the Law Library's Research Databases, including Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg, HeinOnline's Law Journal Library, Index to Legal Periodicals and LegalTrac.

In addition, Snell Library has several databases related to criminal justice, including:

Below is a small sample of the articles and news reports on the topic. 

News Articles:

Katy Reckdahl, "Jailed Without Conviction: Behind Bars for Lack of Money," Christian Science Monitor Weekly Magazine, Dec. 16, 2012.

Adam Liptak, "Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in U.S.," New York Times, January 29, 2008.

Legal Periodical Articles:

Ian Ayres and Joel Waldfogel, "A Market Test for Race Discrimination in Bail Setting," 46 Stanford Law Review 987 (1994) [available in HeinOnline].

Jamie Fellner, "The Price of Freedom: Bail and Pretrial Detention of Low Income Nonfelony Defendants in New York City," Human Rights Watch, December 2010.

Clara Calhous and John Meringolo, "Bail Pending Trial: Changing Interpretations of the Bail Reform Act and the Importance of Bail from Defense Attorneys' Perspectives," 32 Pace Law Review 800 (2012).

Compilations of State Laws on Bail

HeinOnline's Subject Compilation of State Laws (1960-2017) database contains bibliographies of law review articles, Web sites, and other sources that compile state laws on particular subjects. From the law library's list of databases, click on HeinOnline, then scroll down to the link to Subject Compilations of State Laws, then click on the Browse the Subjects link to view an alphabetical list of subjects, including bail.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Both the Law Library and Snell Library (the main NU library) have many books and resources on bail-related subjects. To find them, try the Library of Congress SUBJECT searches in Scholar OneSearch below. The name of a particular state can be substituted for "United States" in any of the subject heading strings below. For example: Bail -- Massachusetts.

Bail -- United States

Pre-trial service agencies -- United States

Pre-trial release -- United States

Pre-trial procedure -- United States

Bail bond agents -- United States

Bounty hunters -- United States

Criminal law -- United States

Criminal procedure -- United States

Criminal justice, Administration of -- United States

United States. Constitution. 5th. Amendment

United States. Constitution. 8th. Amendment


Pretrial Justice Institute  Resources webpage, including the link to The Bail Decision and Assessing Risk

National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies see the publications webpage