Pretrial Detention

Exploring cost and outcome of detaining people before trial or deportation (ie. instead of bail or other alternatives)

  • Detaining the Poor: How money bail perpetuates an endless cycle of poverty and jail time,
    Prison Policy Initiative, May, 2016
    “A majority of people unable to meet bail fall within the poorest third of the national income distribution.”
  • Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2016,
    Prison Policy Initiative, March, 2016
    (The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in thousands of facilities, and we go deeper to provide further detail on where and why.)
  • Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2015,
    Prison Policy Initiative, December, 2015
    (The U.S. locks up more than 2.3 million people in prisons, jails, and other facilities on any given day.)
  • Exploring the Potential for Pretrial Innovation in Massachusetts [PDF]
    MassINC, September, 2015
    “Since 2008, the state’s pretrial population has grown by nearly 13 percent, while arrests have declined by 10 percent and the number of commitments annually to state prisons and county houses of correction has fallen by 22 percent.”
  • Pretrial Detention and Jail Capacity in California
    Public Policy Institute of California, July, 2015
    “But California’s high rates of pretrial detention have not been associated with lower rates of failure to appear or lower levels of felony rearrests.”
  • San Francisco Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Racial and ethnic disparities analysis for the reentry council,
    The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity, June, 2015
    “Black adults are 7.1 times as likely as White adults to be arrested, 11 times as likely to be booked into County Jail, and 10.3 times as likely to be convicted of a crime in San Francisco.”
  • Presumption of Guilt: The Global Overuse of Pretrial Detention, [PDF]
    Open Society Justice Initiative, September, 2014
    “The present global cohort of 3.3 million pretrial detainees will collectively spend an estimated 660 million days in detention-a terrible waste of human potential that comes at a considerable cost to states, taxpayers, families, and communities.”
  • Inside Out Questionable and Abusive Practices in New Jersey's Bail-Bond Industry, [PDF]
    State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation, May, 2014
    “The result is a disorderly process driven by private profit rather than public interest and one that is dangerously out of balance when it comes to both the rights of the defendents and the requirements of the criminal justice system.”
  • Exploring the Impact of Supervision on Pretrial Outcomes [PDF]
    Laura and John Arnold Foundation, November, 2013
    “Defendants supervised pretrial for more than 180 days were 12% to 36% less likely to commit new crimes before case disposition.”
  • The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention [PDF]
    Laura and John Arnold Foundation, November, 2013
    “When held 8-14 days, low-risk defendants are 51 percent more likely to commit another crime within two years after completion of their cases than equivalent defendants held no more than 24 hours.”
  • Investigating the Impact of Pretrial Detention on Sentencing Outcomes [PDF]
    Laura and John Arnold Foundation, November, 2013
    “Low-risk defendants who are detained for the entire pretrial period are 5.41 times more likely to be sentenced to jail and 3.76 times more likely to be sentenced to prison when compared to low-risk defendants who are released ... before trial...”
  • Assessing Pretrial Risk without a Defendant Interview [PDF]
    Laura and John Arnold Foundation, November, 2013
    “Less than 10% of judicial officers across the country use pretrial risk assessment tools to make these decisions, in part because they require costly and time-consuming defendant interviews.”
  • Are Immigration Detainer Practices Rational? [PDF]
    Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, September, 2013
    “According to these data, an undocumented foreign national with a traffic offense is more likely to be booked into ICE detention than one with a homicide, forcible rape, robbery, or aggravated assault offense.”
  • "Give Us Free": Addressing Racial Disparities In Bail Determinations, [PDF]
    New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, 2013
    “...Seventy-five percent of pretrial detainees are charged with relatively minor property crimes, drug offenses or other non-violent acts, and remain in jail simply because the money bond was set in an amount they cannot afford to pay.”
  • Sheriffs' Offices, 2007 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, December, 2012
    “From 1987 to 2007, the number of full-time employees in sheriffs' offices increased from about 189,000 to more than 346,000”
  • The Texas Commission on Jail Standards: The State's Solution for Implementing A Strong County Jail System While Protecting Counties From Liability, [PDF]
    Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, November, 2012
    “Texas Commission on Jail Standards guards Texas counties from damaging lawsuits, specifically by setting constitutional jail standards for counties to follow, conducting facility inspections, and enforcing compliance with rules and procedures.”
  • Bail Fail Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, September, 2012
    “Although judges and judicial officers may deny or simply not be aware of any racial bias [...], there is strong evidence that these bail decision makers consider the lost freedom caused by pretrial detention to be a greater loss for whites than for blacks”
  • A Decade of Bail Research in New York City [PDF]
    New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Inc., August, 2012
    “Defendants who are detained pretrial are more likely to be convicted, if convicted they are more likely to be sentenced to incarceration, and if incarcerated, their sentences are likely to be longer.”
  • Exploring Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) for Women in Massachusetts [PDF]
    Wellesley Centers for Women, July, 2011
    “As stated previously, the reason that many women are held in the ATU at MCI-F is because they lacked the financial resources to secure bail set as low as $50.00.”
  • Pre-Trial Detention of Dangerous and Violent Defendants Following Passage of the Omnibus Public Safety Justice Amendment Act of 2009, [PDF]
    Urban Institute, 2011
    “We find a steady increase from 2007 through 2010 in the probability of detention for dangerous and violent defendants without associated weapons charges, on public safety grounds.”
  • The Price of Freedom Bail and Pretrial Detention of Low Income Nonfelony Defendants in New York City, [PDF]
    Human Rights Watch, December, 2010
    “People should not have to endure jail simply because they are too poor to buy their way out, particularly when there are other ways of ensuring that such defendants make their scheduled court appearances.”
  • Baltimore Behind Bars How to Reduce the Jail Population, Save Money, and Improve Public Safety, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, June, 2010
    “9 out of 10 people in the [Baltimore] jail are awaiting trial, compared to about 2 out of 3 in the rest of the country. [Reducing] the number of people held pretrial in a safe and effective way can greatly reduce the jail population & associated costs.”
  • Philadelphia's Crowded, Costly Jails: The Search for Safe Solutions,
    Pew Charitable Trusts, May, 2010
  • World Pre-trial/Remand Imprisonment List Pre-trail detainees and other remand prisoners in all five continents, [PDF]
    International Centre for Prison Studies, January, 2008
    “..this List refers to those persons who, in connection with an alleged offence or offences, are deprived of their liberty following a judicial or other legal process but have not been definitively sentenced by a court for the offence(s).”
  • Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, November, 2007
    “Presents findings on the pretrial release phase of the criminal justice process using data collected from a representative sample of felony cases filed in the 75 largest U.S. counties in May during even-numbered years from 1990 to 2004.”
    ("About 3 in 5 felony defendants in the 75 largest counties were released prior to the disposition of their case.")
  • Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees,
    Human Rights Watch, April, 2005
  • Community-Based Treatment: The Impact of the Homeless Pretrial Release Project, [PDF]
    Justice Policy Institute, June, 2000
  • Federal Pretrial Release and Detention, 1996 [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, February, 1999
  • Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants, 1992: National Pretrial Reporting Program, [PDF]
    Bureau of Justice Statistics, November, 1994

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