Professor Alison M. Siegler, Illinois Fellow and founder and director of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, has co-authored an article on bail reform and the federal justice system for The New York Times. The op-ed, entitled “How Did the ‘Worst of the Worst’ Become 3 Out of 4?”, argues that new attorney general Judge Merrick Garland has an important opportunity to prioritize federal bail reform and “[disrupt] the culture of detention that pervades the ranks of federal prosecutors”.
Siegler and Harris note that 40 years ago, Congress created the “presumption of detention” as a means of locking up the “worst of the worst” offenders before trial. Today, its use has ballooned far beyond its initial intent and the statute “nearly every person awaiting trial in a federal drug case” is deprived of their right to freedom while awaiting trial. They suggest that Judge Garland enact policies to “limit pretrial jailing to cases where it is genuinely necessary”, among other reforms.
Read the article here.