Locked Up and Awaiting Trial: A Natural Experiment Testing the Criminogenic and Punitive Effects of Spending a Week or More in Pretrial Detention
57 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2023
Date Written: June 2, 2023
This study provides a rigorous assessment of the public safety outcomes of pretrial detention by estimating the criminogenic and punitive effects of spending at least one week in pretrial detention across three jail systems in two states. Jails are a unique criminal justice contact point because they hold individuals at different stages of case processing, including individuals awaiting trial, and those serving shorter sentences or waiting to be transferred to prison. Pretrial incarceration is arguably one of the most consequential decisions in case processing for an individual. A small body of research has emerged to show that pretrial detention is both criminogenic (i.e., leads to higher arrest rates) and punitive (i.e., leads to higher conviction rates). In this paper, we use a doubly robust difference-in-differences design to assess the relationship between pretrial detention with court appearances, new arrests prior to adjudication, and convictions for the instant offense. The findings of this research study provide strong evidence that pretrial detention leads to increased likelihood that individuals will miss court and be arrested for new crimes.
Keywords: pretrial detention, differnce-in-differences, jail incarceration
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