The Evolution of Pretrial Detention Law
A Comparative Study

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About This Work

From the introduction by Ira Belkin:

“…One of the fundamental challenges for any criminal justice system is how to deal with individuals suspected of a crime before there has been adjudication of guilt or innocence. The power of the state to detain an individual on suspicion of committing a crime is one of the greatest powers the state has over an ordinary citizen. Under principles of international human rights and fundamental fairness, individuals who have not been convicted of a crime should be presumed innocent and not subject to any form of punishment, including incarceration, unless and until an appropriate tribunal has considered their case determined that they are guilty and deserving of punishment. At the same time, there is a real risk to the judicial process and society when a potentially dangerous individual is released from custody…Accordingly, every criminal justice system needs to have a process to determine which defendants can be released while awaiting trial, and under what conditions, and which defendants must be held in detention until their adjudication is final. The question we address in this book is how to strike the appropriate balance among these competing concerns…

Compiled by:

Ira Belkin, Executive Director, USALI
Chi Yin, Research Scholar, USALI
Allen Clayton-Greene, Research Scholar
N. Elias Blood-Patterson, Research Scholar/Program Manager



Chapter 1: The History of Bail and Pretrial Release
by Timothy R. Schnacke, Michael R. Jones, Claire M. B. Brooker

Chapter 2: Fair Treatment for the Indigent: The Manhattan Bail Project

by the Vera Institute of Justice

Chapter 3: History of Bail in the United States and Risk Assessment in Bail
by Peter Kiers

Chapter 4: Pretrial Investigation and Pretrial Service Supervision
by Barry Weiner

Chapter 5: Assessing Pretrial Risk without a Defendant Interview
by Marie VanNostrand & Christopher T. Lowenkamp

Appendix I: US Laws and Cases


Chapter 6: “The Problem of Pretrial Detention”
by Mike McConville, Satnam Choongh, Pinky Choy Dick Wan, Eric Chui Wing Hong, Ian Dobinson and Carol Jones

Chapter 7: Unresolved Questions Regarding Pretrial Detention and Reforming the Role of Detention Center - Based Prosecutors - Establishing a System to Review the Necessity of Pretrial Detention
by DAN Wei

Chapter 8: On Improving the Pretrial Detention System in China
by BIAN Jianlin

Chapter 9: Alternatives to Detention and Support Systems for Juveniles Awaiting Trial - An Empirical Study
by SONG Yinghui, SHUANGGUAN Chungguang, and WANG Zhenhui

Chapter 10: Prosecutorial Review of the Necessity of Pretrial Detention
by LAN Xiangdong, WANG Ran

Chapter 11: Consideration of “Danger to the Community” as a Factor in Approving Daibu - An Empirical Analysis of its Effectiveness and Some Relevant Policy Proposals
by LI Hongliang

Chapter 12: Redefining the Power of Daibu: Improving the System of Checks and Balances in the People’s Republic of China

by LIN Lan

Chapter 13: An Empirical Analysis of the Review of “the Necessity of Detention”
by WU Minglai & SUN Hanmei

Appendix II: Relevant Laws of China

Praise for this Work

Brandon Garrett, L. Neil Williams Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law


I strongly recommend The Revolution of Pretrial Detention Law: a Comparative Study for a fascinating look at the uses and regulation of detention in the US and in China.  This volume provides a clear overview of the law of bail in the US and a description of detention practices in the US and China.  The book gathers important work from numerous great contributors.  Original empirical data give a powerful and interesting window into the use of detention in China, and the rise of alternatives to detention for juveniles in China.  Other chapters turn from the description to the prescriptive and offer novel suggestions for alternatives to detention in China.  That discussion mirrors live policy and law debates in the US, in which alternatives to bail are increasingly being considered.


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