Pretrial Research Meeting

May 22 – 23, 2007
Charlotte, NC

Meeting Objectives

The meeting was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, in conjunction with the National Institute of Corrections and its Pretrial Network.

The goal was to further develop NIJ’s Pretrial Research Program. The meeting's objectives were:

  1. To compile and present findings from past and contemporary research to assess what we have learned.
  2. To gather researchers, practitioners, and pretrial experts to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the body of research and its applications in the field.
  3. To identify next steps, including building on current lines of research and identifying gaps where new lines can be developed.

Pretrial Research Program

NIJ’s constituents for pretrial research are professionals in the field of criminal justice and the general public, including defendants, victims, and their families. 

The pretrial research portfolio focuses on the research, development, and evaluation of pretrial release and detention policies and practices. Concerns include:

  • Risk Assessment – What risk factors best determine eligibility for release vs. detention?
  • Public Safety – What are rates and predictors of pretrial release violation, including new offenses?
  • Court Appearances – What are the rates and predictors of failure to appear in court?
  • Community Supervision – Under what conditions can pretrial defendants be released, and what community-based programming improves pretrial release success?
  • Costs and Benefits – Under what conditions do the savings associated with pretrial release outweigh the costs of recidivism, failure to appear, and detention?
  • Other important issues include disparity in case processing and special cases involving serious mental illness, juveniles, and domestic violence.

Meeting Agenda

The 2-day meeting was designed to inform and solicit feedback via presentation panels and group discussion. Building on a foundation panel that reviewed pretrial policy, practice, and research, subsequent panels addressed pretrial supervision, risk assessment, contemporary research and policy, and the perspectives of court and corrections stakeholders.

Participant List

Information about pretrial release and detention programming is of great relevance to several Federal, State, and local agencies, including law enforcement and bail/bond insurance representatives; victim/witness assistance providers; sheriffs and other jail administrators; judges, prosecutors, and defense counsel; and pretrial release and supervision officers. Most of these groups were represented at this meeting. Subsequent meetings will be scheduled with other stakeholders to solicit feedback and additional input.

Meeting Products

We have started a working bibliography to share and solicit information that will aid NIJ in furthering a pretrial research agenda. This will next be annotated to provide basic information on methods and findings for each.

Speaker Presentations


Linda Truitt (

Date Modified: December 6, 2010