Monday numbers – A closer look at pretrial release

Monday numbers – A closer look at pretrial release

- in News, Top Story

As Policy Watch continues to examine North Carolina’s for-profit bail industry, it’s worth looking at an alternative already in place in many of the state’s largest counties – pretrial release programs that help those not deemed a threat or flight risk get out of jail without cash bail.

22 – The number designated pretrial services programs in place at a county level, mostly administered by nonprofits and financed by the individual counties. Those programs service (either fully or in part) up to 40 of the state’s 100 counties (Source: N.C. pretrial service directory)

97 – The number of localities in Virginia (out of 133) in which the the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services provides funding for pretrial services. (Source: Comprehensive Community Corrections Act and Pretrial Services Act Annual Report, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services)

1 – Number of N.C. counties using an empirically-derived pretrial risk assessment tool (like the Arnold Foundation PSA–Court tool) to decide pretrial release conditions. (Source: Upgrading N.C.’s Bail System, report from the Pretrial Justice Institute, 2016)

93 percent – The public safety rate for those released through Mecklenburg County’s current pretrial release system, when it was first implemented in 2015. The number represents the rate of defendants who were not arrested on new charges after release. (Source: Mecklenburg pretrial services)

98 percent – The court appearance rate for those released through Mecklenburg’s program in 2015. (Source: Mecklenburg pretrial services)

9 – Number of states, including North Carolina, currently operating without a constitutional right to bail. While the relevant North Carolina statute speaks of a right to release, the statute both generally and specifically points only to a “right to have one’s conditions set,” not actual release. (Source: Upgrading N.C.’s Bail System, report from the Pretrial Justice Institute, 2016)

31 – Number of years since the U.S. Supreme Court case United States v. Salerno, in which Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote, “’In our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception.” The court upheld preventative pretrial detention, but set very specific provisions: “[I]f the judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community, he shall order the detention of the person prior to trial.” (Source: United States v. Salerno)

460,000 – Approximate number of people being held in jails throughout the United States awaiting disposition of their charges. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)

65 – Percentage of people held in U.S. jails in 2016 because they were awaiting court action on a current charge. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics)

89 – Percentage of detained U.S. felony defendants who remain in custody throughout the pretrial period on secured bonds that are never posted. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2015 national survey)