Strategies To Address Rising Jail Populations: A Comparison Of Pretrial Services And Bail Release

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Britton, Cara V.
pretrial services; bail release; recidivism; failure to appear; distribution; diversion; Psychology
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Maintaining high pretrial release rates while also guaranteeing the safety of a community and sustaining high court appearance rates is a challenge for many overcrowded jails. Providing reasonable and appropriate options other than incarceration can help to effectively control the risk of defendant's pretrial misconduct. Alcohol and drug treatment, supervision, and family counseling are some of the many different options that pretrial services can offer defendants. These may be useful alternatives offered through pretrial service agencies, options that are often times more effective than simply allowing release via money bail (Clark & Henry, 1996). The present study examined the effectiveness of one Pretrial Services program. Defendants released following assessment by Pretrial Services were compared to defendants who had bail set and subsequently were able to post it. Results from this study suggest defendant participation in Pretrial Services was associated with significantly lower rates of recidivism as well as failure to appear rates.