Pretrial Justice Institute
200 East Pratt Street, Suite 4100
Baltimore, MD 21202

(667) 281-9141

Pretrial News 10 Minute Read

What's Happening in Pretrial Justice? October 2023

Wendy Shang
Words by
Wendy Shang
Published on
October 31, 2023

Cook County Jail Reaches Historic Population Low. For only the second time in four decades, the Cook County Jail population has dipped below 5,000 (the first time being a 141-day stretch during the pandemic). In an interview with WBEZ, Loyola University Chicago professor David Olson attributed the drop to the shortened amount of time people are spending in jail due to the elimination of money bond in the Pretrial Fairness Act, which took effect September 18. The Coalition to End Money Bond reports similar declines across the state.

General Accounting Office notes pretrial electronic monitoring issues. The GAO was asked to examine the management of pretrial release location monitoring in the federal system. The GAO found that approximately one-fourth of people released in federal court are required to use location monitoring devices, and that chief pretrial services officers reported “moderately or extremely challenging issues” due to poor cellular service (86%) and equipment malfunctions due to defects (80%). The GAO’s recommendations include collecting data on the underlying cause of alerts and the length of time for pretrial officers to respond.

More data on federal pretrial practices. A study of nearly a quarter-million people released in the federal pretrial system found that on average, a person released pretrial received nine pretrial conditions, and conditions had no significant relationship with reductions in likelihood of pretrial arrest or missed court appearance. However, the probability of being revoked increased with the number of conditions imposed.

Weird acronym, but hey, progress. As a result of a lawsuit challenging the use of money-based bail schedules, the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) has implemented the Pre-Arraignment Release Protocol or PARP, which requires zero-dollar bail for many charges and for judges to set release conditions according to a person’s risk to public or victim safety and likelihood of returning to court. Money bail may still be set at arraignment. Emergency use of zero-dollar bail during the pandemic has been associated with declines in re-rearrest and no increases in failures to appear.

North Carolina’s Pretrial Integrity Act Goes Into Effect. North Carolina’s Pretrial Integrity Act went into effect as of October 1, requiring judges (instead of magistrates) to set pretrial release conditions in certain cases, and allowing a 48-hour hold for judges to set conditions for certain charges, largely related to impaired driving. The de facto preventive detention provision has raised concerns that there are no accompanying procedural protections. UNC has released a guide on the new law for magistrates.

*Another* study linking pretrial detention time to future offending. A new study from the Center for Legal Systems Research examining the effects of longer pretrial detention on future offending has found that individuals detained more than seven days have a 23% higher probability of experiencing a new arrest than those detained for one day or less. Additionally, the three-county study found that people who were detained longer were more likely to experience a new arrest sooner, those contributing to the rate of “churn” through county jails.