In June 2020, the Center for Court Innovation released the report “Reducing Pretrial Detention in New York City: Data-Driven Strategies for Decarceration” by Michael Rempel and Tia Pooler. The report notes that 65 percent of arrested individuals in the United States and 75 percent of arrested individuals in New York City (as of 2019) are held in local jails pretrial and prior to conviction. The slowness of pretrial release and the prohibitive costs increase jail time and cause more people to accept guilty pleas just to end incarceration. Additionally, spending time in jail can create instability for incarcerated individuals in jobs, family life, and other factors, which hurts communities.
To address these issues, the report outlines a case study in New York that discusses the state eliminating bail and pretrial detention in most criminal cases and requiring judges to consider defendants’ financial situations when setting bail. New York City expanded supervised release, which allows defendants to be released under supervision to ensure they appear in court. While these reforms still need to be evaluated, they could prove to be a useful pretrial model.