Reducing pretrial populations

The pretrial population of defendants has significantly increased—particularly in rural areas of the country. Jails in smaller jurisdictions are responsible for an outsized share of jail population growth.

Indeed, from 1970 to 2014, jail populations grew by almost sevenfold in small counties but only threefold in large counties. This paper explores why this growth may have occurred and makes numerous recommendations reducing pretrial populations, particularly in rural America.