Brooklyn Law Review


Liana M. Goff


This note contributes to the growing national consensus about the need to reduce the population of low-income defendants who are detained pretrial due to their inability to afford bail. It documents the efforts undertaken by certain state actors to mitigate the harmful consequences of wealth-based pretrial systems and critiques the so-called alternatives to cash bail—namely, supervised release programs. This note suggests that lawmakers eliminate the role of finances and incarceration in pretrial procedure altogether and recommends an approach to criminal procedure that is based not only on heuristic methods of measuring cost and benefit but also normative principles of good governance which have historically justified society’s use of detention.