Back on the Streets

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has just released a new study, Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts (pdf).  The study is interesting reading if only to remind oneself how crime is concentrated among a small minority of repeat offenders.  Nearly a quarter of released defendants, for example, fail to appear on the day of their trial; worse yet 17 percent of released defendants are rearrested for a new offense before their trial even begins.  If 17 percent are rearrested you can be pretty sure that the percentage of releasees who have committed a new crime is much higher.

The BJS study also verifies my research with Helland showing that commercial bail and bounty hunters work well.  Defendants released on commercial bail are less likely to fail to appear and are more likely to be recaptured if they do fail to appear compared to those released on their own recognizance or on a public bail system.


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