A Meta-Analytic Review of Pretrial Research: Risk Assessment, Bond Type, and Interventions

47 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2016 Last revised: 25 Oct 2018

See all articles by Kristin Bechtel

Kristin Bechtel

Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice

Alexander Holsinger

University of Missouri at Kansas City

Christopher Lowenkamp

AO US Courts Probation and Pretrial Services Office

Madeline Warren

Johnson County Court Services Kansas 10th Judicial District

Date Written: March 3, 2016

Abstract

This study makes an attempt to aggregate, via meta-analysis, what we currently know about pretrial decision making and jurisdictions’ responses to the pretrial population. This meta-analysis began with an exhaustive search for pretrial research which may have revealed the most prominent finding — that being a distinct lack of research that utilizes any amount of methodological rigor. We identified a large number of studies that met our most general criteria (i.e., research about pretrial decision making) but mainly dealt with legal and/or philosophical issues regarding pretrial detention and due process. Studies that utilized empirical data and strong methodological designs were distinctly lacking. Of the studies that could be included, effect sizes were generated that may show some promise for court notification programs, pretrial supervision practices, and the potential effect of restrictive bond schedules. However, strong conclusions cannot be made as the quality of the pretrial research, overall, is weak at best.

The findings of this study hold several policy implications for the field of pretrial research and practice. First, future research studies in the field of pretrial need to focus on methodological quality and rigor. Second, it appears that some conditions of release may be related to a defendant’s likelihood of failure to appear. Third, it appears that none of the conditions of release reviewed in this study are related to a defendant’s likelihood of re-arrest while on pretrial release. Finally, it is recommended that the field of pretrial develop a sound research agenda and execute that plan with rigor, transparency, and an approach that favors the continued cumulation of knowledge.

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Kristin and Holsinger, Alexander and Lowenkamp, Christopher and Warren, Madeline, A Meta-Analytic Review of Pretrial Research: Risk Assessment, Bond Type, and Interventions (March 3, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2741635 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2741635

Kristin Bechtel

Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice ( email )

355 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
United States

Alexander Holsinger

University of Missouri at Kansas City ( email )

5215 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2447
United States

Christopher Lowenkamp (Contact Author)

AO US Courts Probation and Pretrial Services Office ( email )

689 Union Drive
Hudson, OH 44236
United States
2025270313 (Phone)

Madeline Warren

Johnson County Court Services Kansas 10th Judicial District ( email )

100 N. Kansas Ave
Olathe, KS 66061
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
379
rank
72,658
Abstract Views
912
PlumX