CBKB’s June focus: Pretrial detention

By , June 2, 2011

This month, CBKB highlights information about the costs and benefits of pretrial detention, release, and services. Since the 1990s, the U.S. jail population has doubled from 400,000 to nearly 800,000, and pretrial detainees—those for whom a determination of guilt or innocence has not yet been made—account for three-quarters of this increase.

During this same period, the proportion of detainees released to pretrial services has declined, while the proportion of cases where money bail is set has gone up, raising the question of whether money bail is an appropriate substitute for pretrial services if those who can’t afford bail remain in jail at both the expense of taxpayers and the families of the detainee.

CBKB will take a look at how cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can inform decisions about pretrial release and give an overview of economic studies on this topic. We’ll also provide resources for conducting CBAs of pretrial detention, release, and services and feature a guest blog by Michael Jones, the Criminal Justice Planning Manager of the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Planning Unit in Colorado.  Mr. Jones has begun to analyze the different costs associated with community-based pretrial supervision, pretrial detention, and financially secured and non-secured bail setting.

Please send us any comments, questions, and references to resources on this topic. We’re looking forward to the conversation.

 

One comment

  1. Since 1990, the US population has grown by 60,000,000 legally counted citzens. Add to that the estimated current 13 to 20 million illegal residents, some that make up to 25 percent of our jail and prison populations, a doubling on jail inmates is not that shocking over a 30 year period.

    Government run, tax payer funded pretrial release services, should work with those that are truly indigent. It should not replace the private surety bail system that cost the tax payers not one dollar.

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