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Offending on Bail and Police Use of Conditional Bail

NCJ Number
D Brown
Date Published
4 pages
A recent survey by Great Britain's Home Office Research and Statistics Directorate found the level of juvenile offending while on bail was relatively high; 24 percent of all those given bail committed one or more offenses while on bail.
A sample of 1,283 suspects bailed by the police in early 1996 was selected from custody records at three police stations in England. Suspects were 89 percent male and 25 percent were 17 years of age or younger. In addition, interviews were conducted at each police station with commanding and custody officers. These interviews covered circumstances in which bail conditions were used, types of bail conditions imposed, when bail conditions were set, and local initiatives to enforce bail conditions. Findings showed 12 percent of those bailed by the police and 15 percent of those bailed by the court committed at least one offense while on bail. The highest rate of juvenile offending while on bail involved those bailed for vehicle crime (44 percent) and shoplifting (40 percent). Further, the longer the bail period, the more likely suspects were to offend. Juveniles were more than twice as likely as adults to offend while on bail and they offended more persistently. About 30 percent of juveniles breached police-imposed bail conditions, compared to 7 percent of adults. Seven percent of those bailed by the police did not show up for their first court appearance, and 9 percent of those bailed by the court failed to attend at least one court hearing. Figures for juvenile offending while on bail provide some support for custody officer views that specific conditions are effective in certain kinds of cases, for example, curfews in burglary cases, but that the use of bail conditions is generally not related to lower offending rates. 2 references and 3 figures