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NCJ Number: 203225 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Pretrial Detention on Imprisonment Decisions
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:28  Issue:2  Dated:Autumn 2003  Pages:299-316
Author(s): Marian R. Williams
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This exploratory study assessed the relationship between pretrial detention and the decision to incarcerate in adult felony cases in a Florida county, controlling for various legal and extralegal factors.
Abstract: Data were obtained on adult felony cases in Leon County, FL, that closed during the period from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 1996. Of the approximately 10,000 felony cases that were closed during this period, a sample of 412 cases was used in the research. The sampling frame was divided into 2 categories, i.e., cases that involved private counsel (n=180) and cases that involved appointed counsel (n=240). The study assessed the relationship between pretrial detention and the issues of whether a defendant was incarcerated and, if so, the length of incarceration. The primary variable of interest was pretrial detention. Other variables considered were the seriousness of the charge, prior record, type of attorney, length of disposition, race/gender, and age. The findings indicate that pretrial detention was a strong, significant predictor of both incarceration and length of sentence. Legal factors were also significant in both analyses. Black males were sentenced more harshly in terms of both incarceration and sentence length. Although a majority of defendants had been out of jail pending disposition, their pretrial detention status was associated with differing sentencing outcomes. Pretrial detention remained significant even when offense seriousness and prior record were controlled. Defendants who are subject to pretrial detention may be the victims of prediction error, in that judges may perceive that some defendants are more dangerous than they actually are or that they would not be amenable to probation conditions. Also, defendants who are in jail may not be able to assist as effectively in their defense, and this could impact the quality of representation. 3 tables and 37 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Incarceration; Pretrial detention; Sentencing factors; Sentencing/Sanctions
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