TO DETAIN OR NOT TO DETAIN? USING PROPENSITY SCORES TO EXAMINE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRETRIAL DETENTION AND CONVICTION
Johnson, Brian D
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Scholars have long known that individuals who are detained prior to their sentencing fare worse in the criminal justice system than those who are released. These defendants are more likely to be convicted, to be sentenced to prison as opposed to jail or probation, and to receive longer sentences. What is unknown is the casual mechanism behind these effects. Is this effect due to the fact of detainment, or is it merely a result of the same underlying criminal propensity being considered separately at each stage of the sentencing process? This study indicates that detention itself has an independent effect on conviction. After creating balanced groups, detention remained statistically significant, indicating that detained individuals are more likely to be convicted than undetained individuals. Sensitivity analyses indicate that there may be unobserved variables having an impact on a person's likelihood of detention which would have improved the model.