It was once said that “Pretrial Decisions Determine Mostly Everything.” What is remarkable is that this observation was made by Professor Caleb Foote when he was studying the Philadelphia Bail System in 1956.
Decades of research has shown that under our most prevalent system of pretrial release – a resource-based system – many low- and moderate-risk defendants are detained due to their inability to pay and defendants who present the highest risk to public safety due to their ability to pay are released. Under this system, an unnecessarily detained and disproportionately minority population of defendants are more likely to plead guilty, be sentenced to incarceration (and for longer periods of time), and are more likely to return to the criminal justice system post-disposition.
Luminosity has conducted research that not only confirmed these findings but also identified for the first time the impact of even short periods of incarceration on low-risk defendants.
Research Report: The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention
Luminosity is currently working to reduce the hidden costs of pretrial detention by partnering with communities to shift from a resource-based to a risk-based system of pretrial release. A risk-based system relies on evidence-based risk measurement tools and risk management strategies to ensure that the highest-risk defendants are detained and moderate- and low-risk defendants are released with the most effective risk management strategies.