There are more than 700,000 individuals incarcerated in county jails nationwide on any given day, which is up from 400,000 since 1990. An estimated two-thirds of the inmates are in “pretrial status,” meaning that they are being held without conviction at a great cost to local taxpayers. Further, statistics show that of all pre-trial inmates, a majority (65 percent) are non-violent offenders and are prime candidates for effective pretrial services programs.
A study recently released by the National Association of Counties provides detailed information on how a high-functioning, pretrial justice system can dramatically affect jail populations and how county officials significantly contribute in the process. The following is an excerpt; to view the document in full, go to www.naco.org, County Resource Center, Training and Technical Assistance, Criminal Justice.