Design, Sites, and Data Sources
The participating jurisdictions are: Dane County, WI; the City and County of Denver and Mesa, CO; Harris County, TX; Lucas County, OH; New York, NY; Santa Cruz County, CA; and Yakima County, WA.
The Pretrial Justice Collaborative will have two tiers of research activities:
Tier 1. In each of the eight jurisdictions, the MDRC-JSP team will conduct a process and descriptive outcome study of the existing pretrial practices and procedures for setting pretrial release conditions, and will analyze recent trends in court appearance rates and other case outcomes overall and for subpopulations of interest. The study will use qualitative and quantitative data sources to answer important questions to inform the jurisdictions and broader policy. Data will be gathered through interviews with court staff members and other stakeholders and through criminal justice administrative records from state or local courts and local jails. The Tier 1 research will also help determine which jurisdictions will move into a second tier of research, which includes an impact evaluation of pretrial interventions.
Tier 2. In a subset of the eight jurisdictions, the MDRC-JSP team will conduct rigorous impact studies comparing the efficacy of specific pretrial supervision approaches, with a focus on what works to improve court appearance rates. The MDRC-JSP team will provide frequent short-term responses to jurisdictions on important outcomes achieved throughout the study period. Ultimately the team will analyze the relative impact of various supervision strategies on court appearance rates, compliance with the terms of pretrial supervision, pretrial detention, case dispositions, new criminal charges, and racial disparities. This analysis will use criminal justice administrative records from each of the jurisdictions. The research will result in policy evidence about whether less restrictive pretrial supervision interventions are as effective as more burdensome interventions at maintaining court appearance rates for different types of defendants.