STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
One of the principal arguments that undergirds the opposition to surety-based pretrial release is that people are languishing away in pretrial detention because they cannot afford the cost of a surety bond in order to secure their pretrial release. A related assumption is that since defendants are locked up because they are poor, they are being systematically deprived of their due process rights because of their financial status. As a consequence of this supposition, it has been proposed that an alternative method of unsecured pretrial release be implemented as policy that would allow defendants to remain free without any type of surety to secure their appearance in court. As an alternative to being admitted to bail through a private surety bonding company on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, it is argued that defendants could be placed in government-sponsored and government-run unsecured pretrial release programs that are funded by taxpayers support.
Certainly, there are people in jail who are actually supposed to be there for a lawful purpose and legitimate reason: there are offenders serving sentences; there are those persons that are on “hold” for transfer to another county or another state; there are those persons that are being held in protective custody; there are individuals who are being deported and awaiting transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement; there are those persons who are in detention because they are awaiting trial on federal charges; and there are those convicted offenders who are awaiting transfer to state correctional facilities from their original jurisdiction of conviction. Finally, there are those persons in pretrial detention who are there because the judge has determined that the nature and the gravity of the alleged offense(s) are of sufficient severity so as to preclude any type of pretrial release, whether secured or unsecured.
Fundamentally, people end up in jail for a myriad of reasons other than just pretrial detention. Associated with these different reasons for being in jail are differential lengths of time associated with the confinement.
Thus, the purpose of this research is to determine, based upon available data from those counties in the state of Florida that have online databases with search and query capabilities, the average length of stay in pretrial detention following arrest prior to being released from pretrial custody.
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