Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention

"The release-and-detention decision takes into account a number of different concerns, including protecting the community, the need for defendants to appear in court, and upholding the legal and constitutional rights afforded to accused persons awaiting trial. It carries enormous consequences not only for the defendant but also for the safety of the community ... Using data from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this research investigates the impact of pretrial detention on 1) pretrial outcomes (failure to appear and arrest for new criminal activity); and 2) post-disposition recidivism" (p. 3). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; sample description; research objective one-investigate the relationship between length of pretrial detention and pretrial outcome; and research objective two-investigate the relationship between pretrial detention, as well as the length of pretrial detention, and new criminal activity post-disposition (NCA-PD). There appears to a direct link between how long low- and moderate-risk defendants are in pretrial detention and the chances that they will commit new crimes.