Saturday, March 11, 2017

Highlights from new state report on bail v. risk assessments

Grits has yet to fully vet/grok the just-filed bail reform bill, but the new report from Texas A&M's Public Policy Research Institute on the topic (see a shorter summary, a press release, and a technical appendix) makes for interesting reading. I thought it worthwhile to point out a few highlights. (N.b., links below are to screenshots of related graphics; links to the report on the Office of Court Administration site are thankfully live again.)

The study compared Travis County, which operates under a risk-assessment model, releases 59 percent of inmates on some form of personal bond, compared to 9 percent in Tarrant County. (Real numbers 60% and 6%; see the update below for clarification from Dottie Carmichael.)

The differences in outcomes were striking.

For starters, the finding that victimization rates were dramatically lower under a risk assessment regimen compared to money bail may be the most persuasive argument they made.

Pretrial detention costs under money bail were 42 percent higher than under a risk assessment model, the study found. At a time when counties are complaining bitterly of unfunded mandates, that's a big potential savings which could be handed to them.

Jail stays - both the initial detention and after rearrest for absconders - were shorter under a risk assessment system.

Poor people get hit much harder under money bail. "Not only are more people detained on a low bond in the financial release system, but a higher proportion of those defendants have a statistically low risk of bond failure." To put a number on it, "three times more people in the financial release system would likely succeed if released but remain in jail because they cannot pay $200 or less for a commercial bond."

MORE: Report author Dottie Carmichael emailed with this clarification:
Tarrant:  The correct number for personal bond in Tarrant County is 6%. Travis:  The correct number for personal bond in Travis is 60%  There must be a rounding difference when you split out PB by supervision category in Figure 4 (no supervision, minimal, and full) because when all 3 groups are combined, 59% becomes 60%.  A better summary graphic for this point is on page 33: 

As for the guy who thinks it all came from a PIR, we used 3.5 years of individual-level defendant data – 102,000 cases in Tarrant and 61,000 cases in Travis.  I am sure you know no one could possibly replicate what we did with a PIR since Travis County had not combined the different data sources or diced the data to answer these specific questions.


Anonymous said...

A&M didn't do a study, they simply passed on horrible, incorrect stats from the Travis County Pretrial Dept.
The Travis County Pretrial Dept. is simply trying to justify their almost $6 million dollar per year budget and liberal agenda.

A couple of simple open records requests for the same info from the Travis County Attorneys Enforcement Office and The Travis County Sheriffs Office will prove the A&M Study and Travis County Pretrial conclusions are totally wrong.
Pretrial release only works for low level first time offenders, truly indegent and the mentally ill.

Also, the people that can't afford $250 for a bond are the same people that when released on a Pretrial bond have to pay $300 per month for a electronic monitor or hundreds for Pretrial classes and conditions.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So says the anonymous bail bondsman. So to your mind, we're supposed to believe an anonymous blog commenter - who is guessing at the results of an open records request s/he has never filed - over people with advanced graduate degrees willing to provide their data, sourcing, and publicly put their names on their work. Got it.

Anonymous said...

I have the open records and have provided you with the sources to get the correct info you need at least for Travis County.

Do you do any research or simply pass on incorrect, one sided liberal agendas from people with advanced degrees because they put their name on it???

Do you own research... the truth will set you free.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:37, if you have information from an open records request, provide it. If not, why should anyone believe you?

I do my own research on some topics, and am also a consumer of others' research. To that end, if you have information from open records requests that contradicts PPRI, you should share it. The only reasons I can think of that you would not are that a) you haven't really filed an OR request, b) you did file it but the results aren't what you claim, or c) all you say is a lie and you don't want to be held accountable by giving your name. Perhaps there are other explanations that I'm missing.

Anonymous said...

Challenge accepted...provide your name and contact info and I will be glad to meet with you next week
I know you won't provide your name/contact info or meet and here's why...

1. You don't do your own research because your too quick to assume others don't do theirs.
2. You are a feel good, everyone gets a trophy so everyone should get released with no accountablilty at the taxpayers expense liberal.
3. You don't address the points I made about Pretrial bond conditions/requirements sometimes costing more in money and time than using a surety bond.
4. You don't talk about how bond companies cost the taxpayer Zero.
5. You don't talk about the true costs and ramifications of bail reform.
6. You don't talk about the fact that people released on PR bonds have no skin in the game so they continue to commit crimes, why should they stop, if they get caught again they'll just get another PR bond.
7. You don't talk about how Travis County is already leading the state in Pretial bonds and both jails are still overcrowded.
8. You don't talk about why people are in jail as long as they are sometimes because you don't know that they did'nt get out on a surety bond or Pretrial bond in a timely manner because they had a hold from another county, child support hold or had additional more serious charges. You just assume they are too poor to get out.
9. You don't talk about Travis County Attorneys that advertise "Jail Release" and charge the person in jail the same price as a bondsman plus attorney fees and then the attorneys go to a judge and get them released on a PR bond that would've cost them $30. **SCAM**

You don't talk about these things because you don't have a clue, you and others like you do no research, you rely on emotion and feel good fake news.
Even when I don't agree with the other side, I always do my research and make my own conclusions.

I have the proof, if you wanna see it the ball in your court...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

We've discussed all those things on this blog in the past, 12:51, except maybe #9. Where were you?

In fact, who are you, 12:51? My name is Scott Henson. Send what you've got to I'm not sure why you need to meet. Do you not own a scanner? Upload your documents to Google docs, get a link to share, and provide it to me and everyone like a grownup in the 21st century. Nobody's got time for your childish games, calling others cowardly when you literally are hiding behind anonymity like your mother's skirt.

Put up or shut up. Provide the information or don't. Give your name or don't. I don't have time for blowhards and don't meet with anonymous trolls in back alleys.

BTW, n.b., Dottie Carmichael's comment about your criticisms. You're going to need to come with more than "I have secret info that contradicts it all but you have to meet with me to see it." Real researchers publish their findings. So publish. Or STFU.

George said...

@Anonymous Bailbondsman,

Your tactic is not going to work. I feel your angst, your job and livelihood is in jeopardy, I get it. But ...., that's what you deserve when you make a living off of other peoples' misfortunes. It's people like you that pray for more crime to occur so you can continue to rake in the cash.

Scott, don't agree to meet with this idiot. There's no telling what the dude/dudette might do considering the tone of his/her comments. As far as I'm concerned, you've always been a straight shooter although I don't always agree 100% on all issues with you. You present material and views that need to be presented and provide a platform for open discussion on criminal justice issues. For that, I commend you and thank you.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the current system does not address the issue of persons being held in jail because they do not have money or enough money. I do not believe we need a BIG system to do this at taxpayer expense. Anyone held in a Texas jail for than 36 hours who has not been released on regular bail and not charged with a violent crime and had no previous criminal convictions in the preceding ten year (excluding fine only offenses) should be automatically released on a no fee personal bond. This will insure the truly poor are released without sending the wrong message about committing a crime in Texas. I am sending this anonymously because I do not want to get involved in the nasty fight between bail bondsmen and pretrial services people.

Carol Oeller said...

Wondering why the report shows Harris County as one without a validated risk assessment tool. It was one of the first entities in the Country to develop a validated instrument and certainly the first in Texas. Does it not count because the judges don't like it?

Lindsey said...

This is my favorite comment chain. Scott, you had me literally laughing out loud! "Real researchers publish their findings. So publish. Or STFU." *drops mic* Appreciate ya!