Responsibility and Pretrial Detention

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Pretrial detention is a puzzling practice. The criminal justice system uses the trial as the mechanism to determine the defendant’s guilt and liability to punishment. Yet, there are instances in which the state is ostensibly permitted to detain individuals in advance of this trial. Why may the state detain a responsible agent pretrial? This chapter analyzes the various ways that the defendant’s responsibility intersects with the state’s reasons for detention, focusing specifically on untangling three distinct claims at the heart of dangerousness detention. Flight and obstruction of justice are also examined, and the chapter concludes with skepticism about the moral legitimacy of detentions premised upon the failure to make bail.

Publication Title

Routledge Handbook on Responsibility