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Publication Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants, 1990

Brian A. Reaves, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

November 1, 1992    NCJ 139560

Types of pretrial release include nonfinancial release, financial release, and emergency release. Researchers have identified several factors which affect the probability of pretrial release: offense seriousness, criminal justice status, court appearance history, and prior conviction record. This survey found that 65 percent of felony defendants were released prior to final disposition of their cases. Among the 35 percent not released, five out of six could not post the required bail and one in six was held without bail. Defendants with higher bails were less likely to secure pretrial release. Violent offenders were twice as likely to have a bail of $20,000 or more. Two-thirds of defendants who were already on pretrial release when arrested on their current charges were released again and half of defendants with prior convictions were granted pretrial release. Released property defendants and drug defendants failed to appear in court as scheduled about twice as often as public-order defendants. 17 tables


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