A small number of offenders who are heavily involved in drugs commit a large portion of the crime in this country. An evaluation of a "smart supervision" effort in Hawaii that uses swift and certain sanctioning showed that heavily involved drug offenders can indeed change their behavior when the supervision is properly implemented.
After someone is arrested, the judge or other judicial officer decides whether the defendant can be released until the trial or must be detained. Holding defendants until trial generates extra jail expenses and sequesters the defendants before they have been found guilty in court. The justice system, however, also needs to ensure that a released defendant will not endanger the public or run away before the trial. Safety is a particular concern in domestic violence cases; abusers released before trial might disregard no-contact orders and return to harm their victims.
NIJ is exploring the use of video technology in pretrial release hearings. The purpose is to identify protocols that improve practices and maximize return on investment, using videoconferencing to expedite pretrial release hearings for defendants who are being held in jail awaiting trial.
Key considerations include:
In this Crime File video, James Q. Wilson moderates a panel of three (Jay Carver, Director of the D.C. Pretrial Services Program; Elizabeth Symmonds, attorney with the Capitol Area Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Dr. Eric Wish, a drug researcher)