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Criminal Justice and Social Change



California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: December 27, 1998
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Lecture Notes on CJ Exercise 1: Bail in Different Systems

Source materials for the following questions will be found in Phillip Reichel's Comparative Criminal Justice Systems, Chapter 1.

Answer by e-mail to jcurran@csudh.edu
Subject: cjexercise - bail
Be sure to include your name!
Try to answer in 25 words or so. Make each answer integral, so that I can read it without reference to the exercise or the question itself.

  1. Reichel uses the term "American" in this text. Why does that matter? And how does he explain it? (p.3)

    Reichel uses American because he says there is no comparable term like United Statesian. Yet there are such terms for other American countries. He does acknowledge that this matters because it appears ethno-centric, as though no other country exists in the Americas.

  2. What tension necessarily arises between the individual and the community when an arrest occurs?/

    When an arrest occurs, the individual's primary focus is on preserving his right to freedom and to defend himself. The community's primary focus is on preventing further criminal behavior and protecting itself. Thus the community wants the individual detained for its safety, and the individual wants his/her freedom. Tension, unavoidable. (p. 13)

  3. Reichel describes different ways of handling "bail," one of the resolutions to this problem? What is the major social issue raised by different approaches to bail?

    The major social issue in bail is that there is a tendency to discriminate against the poor or disadvantaged. This is particularly true when the financial aspect comes into play. (pp. 20-21) But even when not a financial consideration, the better positioned citizen is more likely to be able to establish a solid defense and be less likely to even be tempted to abscond.

  4. What primary purpose does classification serve, according to Reichel? And is it definitive?

    "Classification is being used to summarize and make sense of diversity." As more information accrues, the classification scheme will need to be revised to reflect the new knowledge. "Because it is a creation of reason based on accumulation of experienced data, a classification can be neither right nor wrong. It is simply an intelligible summary of information."