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The Bail Reform Act of 1966 may rank as the most significant legislative reform of the criminal process of this century. A product of the "New Frontier" and the "Great Society," it reflected a broad consensus that society had the ability and the duty to alleviate tile disadvantages caused by poverty, racism, and powerlessness. The Act recognized that pretrial incarceration was frequently unnecessary to assure appearance at trial and that it was unjust and discriminatory when reasonable alternatives were available. Money bail was deemphasized, and the courts were directed to release persons without it when circumstances permitted.

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