This episode of Reasonably Speaking explores the Uniform Pretrial Release and Detention Act (UPRDA) by the Uniform Law Commission. The Act creates a comprehensive procedural framework for release and detention determinations.
Most states rely on cash bail as the mechanism to ensure that a defendant will appear in court. Individuals who cannot pay the bail set by the court are detained, placing a disproportionate burden on low-income defendants. Recent studies indicate that approximately two-thirds of the 740,000 people held in local jails are awaiting trial, and at least 27% of all pretrial defendants were unable to afford bail. The UPRDA provides mechanisms for states to limit the use of pretrial detention. The Act does not aim to eliminate all pretrial detention, nor to eliminate all uses of bail. UPRDA provisions address: (1) the use of citations in lieu of arrest for minor offenses; (2) a time limit on when a hearing must be conducted for an individual who is arrested; (3) appointment of counsel; (4) a pretrial risk determination by a court to individualize release or detention; (5) review of a defendant's financial condition so that inability to pay a fee does not lead to detention; and (6) an obligation on the court to consider restrictive conditional release as an alternative to detention.
A transcript of the full episode will be made available when the episode is released.