Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Prison Exit Samples as a Source for Indicators of Pretrial Detention

Contents:

Author Info

  • Foglesong, Todd S
  • Stone, Christopher
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Many governments, civil society organizations, and international development agencies today seek to limit the use of pretrial detention in criminal justice. Motivations vary. Some believe that pretrial detention is ordered indiscriminately and employed for unreasonably long periods; others are concerned with the conditions of confinement and the burdens detention places on families; still others worry about the criminogenic effects of pretrial incarceration. But whatever the motive to limit the use of pretrial detention, it is difficult to imagine the effort succeeding without a good indicator of the extent of its use. Such an indicator has proven surprisingly elusive in countries at every income level. Indeed, it is possible that the effort to reduce pretrial detention in developing countries may actually be hindered by the indicator most commonly used there: the proportion of prison inmates on any given day that is not sentenced. This paper describes some of the flaws with this and other indicators, and shows how domestic governments and their development partners can use a basic and better indicator—the median duration of detention—as a catalyst for change. This paper demonstrates a simple and inexpensive way of developing this indicator – by obtaining administrative data already collected in most prisons and jails about the people who leave detention each month. Everywhere in the world, some number of detainees "exit" each month: some released to continue awaiting trial at liberty, others released at the end of their cases without a prison sentence, and still others whose pretrial detention has been changed to a sentence of incarceration following a criminal conviction. Virtually every prison and jail in the world records the dates of these "exits" whether they are actual releases or merely the reclassification of a pretrial detainee as a sentenced prisoner. Only these administrative data can generate an accurate measure of the duration of detention.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8160718/Stone_PrisonExitSamples.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 8160718.

    as in new window
    Length:
    Date of creation: 2011
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Indicators in Development: Safety and Justice
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:8160718

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
    Fax: 617-496-2554
    Web page: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:8160718. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ben Steinberg).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.