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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Pretrial Release Programs’ Data Collection Methods and Requirements Could Improve, Report No. 10-66, December 2010
 
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  • Twenty-eight Florida counties have locally funded pretrial release programs that supervise defendants who have been released from jail while awaiting disposition of their criminal charges. The programs have generally complied with statutory requirements to provide annual reports and maintain a weekly register of the defendants they serve.
  • However, some programs’ annual reports did not contain all outcome data required by law. While some programs did not disclose why they did not provide the data, many programs cited common reasons. Some requirements do not apply to programs that do not make release recommendations. Some programs did not report criminal history information because doing so would conflict with federal regulations. The Legislature could consider modifying reporting requirements to improve accuracy and data uniformity, streamline reporting requirements, and reduce local costs. These revisions would minimize administrative requirements that impede programs’ ability to screen and supervise defendants.
  • Pretrial release programs reported that few participants failed to appear in court or committed additional offenses while supervised. However, it cannot be determined whether the programs are more effective than other forms of pretrial release (e.g., posting bond and release on recognizance) as there is no comparative statewide data on the outcomes of those release mechanisms.
  • Not all of Florida’s programs meet the statutory definition of a pretrial release program. Section 907.043, F.S., defines “pretrial release program” for purposes of the Citizens’ Right to Know Act as “an entity, public or private, that conducts investigations of pretrial detainees, makes pretrial release recommendations to a court, and electronically monitors and supervises pretrial defendants.” However, not all of Florida’s programs conduct all of the activities listed in statute.

What were our earlier findings?

Report No. 10-08 Pretrial Release Programs’ Compliance With New Reporting Requirements Is Mixed,published in January 2010.
Report No. 08-75 Pretrial Release Programs Vary Across the State; New Reporting Requirements Pose Challenges,published in December 2008.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

State Courts System
Circuit Courts
County Courts

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 16-10 County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2015,published in December 2016.
  • Report No. 15-15 County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2014,published in December 2015.
  • Report No. 14-13 County Pretrial Release Programs Calendar Year 2013,published in December 2014.
  • Report No. 14-02 Expansion Drug Courts Can Produce Positive Outcomes Through Prison Diversion and Reduced Recidivism,published in January 2014.
  • Report No. 13-12 Most Pretrial Release Programs Continue to Be Compliant with Statutory Reporting Requirements,published in December 2013.
  • Report No. 12-13 Most Pretrial Release Programs Continue to Comply with Statutory Reporting Requirements,published in December 2013.
  • Report No. 11-27 Pretrial Release Programs Generally Comply with Statutory Data Collection Requirements,published in December 2011.
  • Report No. 11-21 Expansion Drug Courts Serving More Prison-Bound Offenders, but Will Not Fully Expend Federal Funds,published in November 2011.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
e-mail address: oppaga@oppaga.fl.gov


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