New Drafting Committee on Alternatives to Bail

(February 2, 2018) -

Uniform Law Commission
111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago, IL  60602
312-450-6600, www.uniformlaws.org

Katie Robinson, ULC Legislative Program Director & Communications Officer
312-450-6616 ׀ krobinson@uniformlaws.org

For Immediate Release:


February 2, 2018 — At its recent 2018 Midyear Meeting in Miami, Florida, the Executive Committee of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) authorized the appointment of a new Drafting Committee on Alternatives to Bail.  The drafting committee is a result of a two-year study effort of the ULC Criminal Justice Reform Committee. The drafting committee will be appointed shortly.

Money bail is one of the tools used by courts to ensure that a person accused of committing a crime will return to court for trial, and is common in most places throughout the United States. Methods of implementing money bail through state law or court rule vary greatly across the country.  This creates a problem of disproportionate treatment of individuals which impacts many aspects of their lives as well as creates and contributes to inequality in the U.S. criminal justice system.  While the use of money bail can be useful in procuring the attendance of accused individuals in court, statistics have shown that the use of money bail has caused significant harms to low-income populations and their communities, and largely affects people of color.

The drafting committee will be tasked with drafting state legislation that will provide policy solutions to mitigate the harmful effects of money bail. The drafting committee will review critical areas of pretrial justice, such as: the encouragement of the use of citations in lieu of arrest for minor offenses; appointment of counsel at a defendant’s first appearance; implementation of pretrial risk assessment screening, leading to individualized determinations of release or detention; prohibiting the use of money bail as a mechanism to trigger preventative detention; limiting the use of preventative detention, etc.

The drafting committee will consist of appointed ULC commissioners, American Bar Association advisors, as well as observers from various organizations.  These observers will consist of national stakeholders on issues relating to bail reform, as well as organizations that have a high level of expertise on this issue. 

ULC drafting committees typically meet two or three times a year for at least two years.  Drafting committee meetings are open to the public and full participation in the discussion is encouraged.  All drafts are posted on the ULC’s website (www.uniformlaws.org) which enables public review and comment.

Further information on drafting and study committees of the ULC, as well as further information on the Uniform Law Commission, can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.

About the Uniform Law Commission

The Uniform Law Commission is comprised of more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors and lawyer-legislators, who are appointed by each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas of state laws where uniformity is desirable and practical.  Now in its 127th year, the ULC provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. 

After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it.  Since its inception in 1892, the group has promulgated more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, and the Uniform Partnership Act.

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