Jenny E. Carroll of University of the University of Alabama School of Law has posted Beyond Bail (Florida Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

From the proliferation of community bail funds to the implementation of new risk assessment tools to the limitation and even eradication of money bail, reform movements have altered the landscape of pretrial detention. Yet little attention has been paid to the emerging reality of a post-money bail world. With monetary bail an unavailable or disfavored option, courts have come to rely increasingly on non-monetary conditions of release. These non-monetary conditions can be problematic for many of the same reasons that money bail is problematic and can inject additional bias into the pretrial system.

In theory, non-monetary conditions offer increased opportunities for release over monetary bail and can be narrowly tailored to accomplish specific goals. Yet the proposition that such non-monetary conditions accomplish their purported goals is untested and unsettled. Pretrial release conditions are often imposed at the conclusion of a remarkably brief pretrial hearing and in a near rote fashion, with little or no evidence that the condition is necessary to avoid the risk or risks that fuel them. Defendants – many of whom are unrepresented at these hearings – may be ill-equipped financially or otherwise to comply with such conditions. Non-compliance may place defendants at risk of either additional criminal charges or future pretrial detention.

This Article argues that the reduction or eradication of money bail alone has not and will not ensure a fair and unbiased system of pretrial detention, nor will it ensure that poor and marginal defendants will benefit from pretrial release. Rather, these reforms have shifted the burden of release from paying money bail to paying fees for a laundry list of pretrial release conditions. If pretrial detention reform is to achieve meaningful results, it must address not just the most apparent barrier to release – the fee charged in the form of bail – but all barriers that promote pretrial incarceration and impose unjustified burdens on defendants awaiting trial.

Carroll, Jenny Elizabeth, Beyond Bail (August 22, 2020). Florida Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Jenny E. Carroll

Jenny E. Carroll University of Alabama School of Law

Jenny E. Carroll joined the University of Alabama School of Law faculty in 2014. She is the Wiggins, Childs, Quinn, and Pantazis Professor of Law. She graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. from Duke University and with honors with a J.D. from the University of Texas. She also holds an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center in Clinical Advocacy, which she earned in conjunction with the Prettyman Fellowship. In addition to serving on the Law School’s faculty, in 2016 she was appointed Chair of the Alabama State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


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