The National Institute of Justice funded an evaluation of a model supervised pretrial release (SPR) program. The evaluation found that compared to other pretrial release programs, supervised pretrial release (SPR) does not pose a higher risk to public safety.
Data came from a model SPR program which operated from 1980 to 1983 in Dade County, FL; Multnomah County, OR; and Milwaukee County, WI. Defendants were randomly assigned to two test groups. One group received supervision only, while the other received supervision plus services. Most SPR defendants appeared for all of their required court hearings. Court appearance rates were systematically higher for SPR defendants than for felony defendants released on their own recognizance, citation, and bail. Most SPR defendants successfully completed their period of pretrial supervision without being arrested. Pretrial arrest rates were similar for both groups. Statistical analysis identified several variables predictive of failure to appear and pretrial arrests. The report concludes that SPR is unlikely to produce any immediate cost savings but may, in the long term, reduce the need for increased capital outlays for new jail beds. Policy implications and model SPR program components are outlined. Footnotes and tables are provided; a bibliography of 46 items is attached. For an executive summary, see NCJ 96475.