U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Pretrial Policy Change and Place: Evaluating the Impacts of Maryland's Bail Reform on Crime and Pretrial Outcomes across Courts

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $55,500)

In recent years, many state and local jurisdictions have explored or implemented changes to their pretrial justice systems in response to growing concerns about the adverse impacts of pretrial detention. However, the effects of varied pretrial reforms are understudied, and little is known about how outcomes vary across different jurisdictions, creating uncertainty for state and local policymakers interested in fair and effective justice reform. This dissertation aims to fill this gap. This study examines the impacts of a statewide bail reform initiative in the State of Maryland, estimating effects of the reform on pretrial release outcomes, crime, and future criminal justice involvement. Moreover, this dissertation explores how the impacts of pretrial reform vary across court jurisdictions in the state, and examines how characteristics of local courts and features of their communities influence variation in responses to new policy. This study draws on multiple sources of data to investigate these questions: detailed case-level court records on criminal cases filed from 2001-2021, state-level crime data from 1984-2021, organizational information on Maryland courts, county-level jail population and capacity data, along with county-level social, demographic, and economic characteristics. Employing regression discontinuity, synthetic control, and multi-level modeling approaches, this dissertation will contribute to a growing understanding of the impacts of pretrial justice reform, as well as to literatures on organizational and contextual influences on criminal justice decision-making. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 8, 2023