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Drug Testing and Pretrial Misconduct: An Experiment on the Specific Deterrent Effects of Drug Monitoring Defendants on Pretrial Release

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 29 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1992) Pages: 62-78
Date Published
17 pages
This article reports on a test study that used data from Pima County and Maricopa County, Ariz., to determine whether or not drug testing and monitoring of defendants on pretrial release alters their drug use and chances for pretrial misconduct.
In Pima County, the booking number was used as a reasonable approximation to randomness, and every third even-numbered case was assigned to the control group (pretrial drug release without drug testing). There were 153 subjects in the treatment group (received drug testing) and 78 in the control group. A second sample used 74 in the treatment group and 64 in the control group. The same type of study design was used in Maricopa County. There were 425 in the treatment group and 465 in the control group for one sample. Indicators of pretrial misconduct were failure to appear at case proceedings or an arrest for a new offense. The findings show that in two Pima County samples, there was only a slight reduction in the rate of pretrial rearrest, and there were no differences for failure to appear at trial. In Maricopa County, the first sample showed no difference in the rate of pretrial misconduct between the treatment and control groups. In the second sample, the monitored group had a higher rate of pretrial failure, contrary to expectations. Given these findings, the study concludes that it is not cost-effective to provide drug testing for pretrial releasees. 2 tables, 3 notes, and 11 references

Date Published: January 1, 1992