Guest blog post: Investing in pretrial services programs and the need for CBA

by , June 30, 2011

Peggy McGarry is the director of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice, the parent organization of CBKB.

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections is working with two very different counties to help create pretrial services programs that are rooted in sound, research-based practices. Los Angeles and New Orleans are facing a problem common to counties across the country: too many people occupying expensive jail beds because they cannot post bail or a money bond.


Resources for conducting CBAs of pretrial detention and release options

by , June 29, 2011

Consult the following resources to help you gauge the costs and benefits of pretrial detention and pretrial release options.

1.     Developing a cost-benefit framework

Roger Bowles and Mark Cohen. Pre-Trial Detention: A Cost-Benefit Approach. New York: Open Society Justice Institute, 2008.

Refer to this methodological study for a comprehensive list of costs and benefits to consider in a CBA of pretrial release.


Guest blog post: A reflection on the costs and outcomes of the Jefferson County Bail Project

by , June 28, 2011

Michael Jones is the criminal justice planning manager for the Jefferson County, Colorado, Criminal Justice Planning Unit (CJP), an agency responsible for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the county’s justice system. In 2007, amidst growing concern about the fairness and cost-effectiveness of the county’s money bail system, Jones and his colleagues began working with local government officials to develop the Jefferson County Bail Project.


Assessing the costs and benefits of pretrial services programs

by , June 27, 2011

A recent post on the blog discusses reforming pretrial detention as a way to decrease—and not just redistribute—the number of people who are incarcerated. An effective pretrial services program could help judges determine which defendants can be safely released, monitor released individuals to ensure their court appearance, and potentially save taxpayers’ money by reducing the jail population.


Economics of pretrial release: Current research and future directions

by , June 14, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder, delivering remarks at this month’s National Symposium on Pretrial Justice, called attention to the cost and impact of pretrial detention. “Nearly two thirds of all inmates who crowd our county jails—at an annual cost of roughly nine billion taxpayer dollars—are defendants awaiting trial.” He encouraged attendees to “help those serving on the bench make informed decisions that improve cost-effectiveness and preserve safety needs.”  

Pretrial detention costs were also the subject of a recent New York Times editorial, written in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v.


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.