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Restoring Accountability in Pretrial Release: The Philadelphia Pretrial Release Supervision Experiments, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 1998
223 pages
This report discusses the role of supervision in managing defendants released before adjudication.
The report examines the pretrial release process in the context of jail overcrowding in Philadelphia, PA, and considers the unique challenges associated with reinventing pretrial release practices in anticipation of the end of years of court-imposed "emergency" crowding reduction measures. The supervision strategy behind the Philadelphia release guidelines was based on: (1) full use of the supervision option suggested under the guidelines; (2) notification of defendants of important court dates; (3) orientation of defendants to the criminal process and the requirements of conducted release by pretrial services staff; (4) case management of defendants on supervised release by pretrial services; and (5) enforcement of compliance among defendants under supervision. Investigation of the role of supervision in enhancing the effectiveness of pretrial release was conducted in five parts: two notification experiments, a supervision experiment, an enforcement experiment, and a predictive analysis of defendant non-compliance (no-shows at the first supervision stage). The report describes two principal conclusions from this research. The first relates to the weak impact of notification strategies in reducing defendant misconduct (Failure to Appear and rearrest), while the second relates to the problems with achieving deterrence in conditions of supervision. Notes, figures, tables, references, appendixes

Date Published: August 1, 1998