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OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Pretrial Release Programs' Data Collection Methods and Requirements Could Improve

Report 10-66, December 2010

Report Summary

  • 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.

Related Reports
  1. No Title
    Report 08-75
  2. County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2018
    Report 19-17 December 2019
  3. County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2017
    Report 18-06 November 2018
  4. County Pretrial Release Programs: Calendar Year 2016
    Report 17-12 December 2017
Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by email OPPAGA@oppaga.fl.gov, telephone (850) 488-0021, or mail 111 W. Madison St., Room 312 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475.
Pretrial Release Programs, bail, bond, defendants, release on recognizance, Citizens Right to Know Act, Senate Bill 2676