Monday, August 01, 2016

Harris pays more, gets worse safety outcomes from coercing pleas through detention of poor and innocent misdemeanor defendants

This new academic paper focused on Harris County, "The Downstream Consequences of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention," has implications for innocence work as well as for local officials in Houston with budget-and-public-safety based motives to reduce pretrial detention. Here's the abstract:
In misdemeanor cases, pretrial detention poses a particular problem because it may induce otherwise innocent defendants to plead guilty in order to exit jail, potentially creating widespread error in case adjudication. While practitioners have long recognized this possibility, empirical evidence on the downstream impacts of pretrial detention on misdemeanor defendants and their cases remains limited. This Article uses detailed data on hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases resolved in Harris County, Texas — the third largest county in the U.S. — to measure the effects of pretrial detention on case outcomes and future crime. We find that detained defendants are 25% more likely than similarly situated releases to plead guilty, 43% more likely to be sentenced to jail, and receive jail sentences that are more than twice as long on average. Furthermore, those detained pretrial are more likely to commit future crime, suggesting that detention may have a criminogenic effect. These differences persist even after fully controlling for the initial bail amount as well as detailed offense, demographic, and criminal history characteristics. Use of more limited sets of controls, as in prior research, overstates the adverse impacts of detention. A quasi-experimental analysis based upon case timing confirms that these differences likely reflect the casual effect of detention. These results raise important constitutional questions, and suggest that Harris County could save millions of dollars a year, increase public safety, and reduce wrongful convictions with better pretrial release policy.


Arce said...


Arce said...

The issue of recidivism by those who have falsely pled to get out of jail is bothersome. Is it really that they are more likely to commit a subsequent crime or is it that they are more likely to be arrested for a crime, perhaps falsely once again. Having been arrested and convicted of a crime makes one a target for further attention by law enforcement!!!

john said...

The courts & lawyers get paid, cops even can get overtime; and the jails get paid, PER PERSON---just like the public education system taking roll. IT'S ALL SET UP, TO FAVOR THEM.
Traffic citations & other misdemeanors are NON-JAILABLE OFFENSES; yet, as your slogan says, "YOU CAN'T BEAT THE RIDE"!!! BECAUSE THEY'RE LAWLESS AND UNACCOUNTABLE, greedy, lazy and ARROGANT BEYOND IMAGINATION.
You can be found not-guilty or no billed, dismissed, etc., AND IT STILL REMAINS ON THE RECORD, UNTIL YOU PAY A COUPLE GRAND TO REMOVE IT. BECAUSE THEY'RE CROOKED, dishonoring their oaths. (In Fact, the majority of the judges, etc., don't even bother to take or file their oaths. Visiting judges never have them. YOU are Not represented. Next time you're going to court, TRY and get a copy the judge's oath. Good luck, or maybe you'll get a copy of one filed, days after you asked.*) Though Houston/H.Co. requires, by charter, court reporters; you'll find few at night court or even some of the day courts. BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE TO, NAH NAH NAH. FORK the private-sector We The Poor People.
No private-sector workers could act like the, abusing their very clients.
THERE IS NO MORE "INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY." You may even die, by their hand---and THERE's the chill, the intimidation, the duress--upon which they rely. There's no end to willing henchmen who will violently back up those in power.
I can't breathe and I fear for MY life.
*oh, and the Bar guild card is NOT a license. They're required constitutionally to have a license (you'll find none), not a union membership.

Anonymous said...

Take your meds.