DC Pretrial Failure – 10 years of NO improvement; Massive Taxpayer Expense

Though DC claims to have eliminated “monetary” bail. Do not be fooled. They have not. All they did was shift over $500 million in cost from the defendant to the law-abiding taxpayer. Money is definitely being exchanged for pretrial release. It is monetary bail.

As per the DC Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) website, the goals are: “unnecessary pretrial detention is minimized, jail crowding is reduced, public safety is increased, and the pretrial release process is administered fairly.”

Are they meeting their goals 10 years later?

You decide if your tax dollars are being spent wisely:

  • DC PSA has released approximately 150,000 defendants at a taxpayer cost more than $550 million
  • Over 25 million drug tests performed on individuals not yet convicted
  • While most state jail populations have declined since 2008, DC has increased
  • The June 2017 DC jail report shows 58% of the jail population is pretrial and an average of length of stay of about 6 months
  • US crime has declined by 21% since 2008, DC crime has increased by 3%
  • DC has the highest crime rate per capita in the US
  • At over 89% black, DC may have the most disproportionate jail population
  • DC PSA budget has increased by more than 35% since 2007 though the number of defendants in their programs have remained steady
  • No improvement in failure to appear rate
  • No improvement in arrest-free rate
  • No improvement in compliance rate

Fact sources:










About Ken Berke

Ken Berke is a licensed bail agent in Florida. As Executive Vice President of Roche Surety & Casualty Co. Inc. he frequently travels throughout the United States meeting with bail agents and the public to increase awareness of the professionalism and importance of the bail industry to victims, defendants and the judicial system. He is a frequent contributor to the Roche Surety blog where he dispels false claims against the 8th Amendment and bail through facts, statistics and logic.