Concern over the injustice of the money bail system led the founders of the Vera Institute of Justice to design and implement the Manhattan Bail Project in 1961. The Project demonstrated that people with strong ties to the community could be safely released from custody without bail merely on their promise to return to court—called release on recognizance. Federal, state, and local officials should be encouraged to examine their systems and implement a more just, more rational, and less costly system of ensuring appearance and protecting public safety while those charged but presumed innocent await the disposition of the charges. Toward that end, Attorney General Eric Holder convened a national conference on bail and criminal justice in June 2011 that presented another opportunity to realize the Manhattan Bail Project's mission: bringing pretrial justice to the significant proportion of impoverished defendants brought before the criminal courts.

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