NACo recently released a study entitled County Jails at a Crossroads: An Examination of the Jail Population and Pretrial Release, accompanied by data layers in the interactive map County Explorer and 2 case studies. This research sheds light on the pretrial population, policies and practices in county jails. Counties own 87 percent of jails in the United States through which they provide supervision, detention and other correctional services to over 700,000 people to maintain public safety and reduce recidivism. Many counties are at a crossroads between judges’ decisions and increases in jail populations and costs. Using the results of a 2015 NACo survey of county jails, we find that the majority of the confined county jail population is both pretrial and low risk and some jails supervise pretrial individuals outside of confinement.
The report has an interactive website and a short video of an interview with the author of the report, Dr. Natalie Ortiz explaining the main findings.