Bail Reform Act of 1966

Final

The first major reform of the federal bail system since the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the federal judiciary. The 1966 Act contained the following provisions: (1) a presumption in favor of releasing non-capital defendants on their own recognizance; (2) conditional pretrial release with conditions imposed to reduce the risk of failure to appear; (3) restrictions on money bail bonds, which the court could impose only if non financial release options were not enough to assure a defendant’s appearance; (4) a deposit money bail bond option, allowing defendants to post a 10% deposit of the money bail bond amount with the court in lieu of the full monetary amount of a surety bond; and (5) review of bail bonds for defendants detained for 24 hours or more.* After passage of this Act, many states passed similar laws.

*See Evie Lotze, John Clark, D. Alan Henry, & Jolanta Juszkiewicz, The Pretrial Services Reference Book, Pretrial Servs. Res. Ctr. (Dec. 1999), at 5. The Act was codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141-3151.

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