Pretrial Release Data, 1969 (ICPSR 7538)

Principal Investigator(s): Nagel, Stuart S.; Wice, Paul; Neff, Marian


This data collection contains information gathered about pretrial release policies, procedures, and outcomes in a 1969 survey of police chiefs, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and bail project directors in 72 cities across the United States (with a higher proportion in Illinois). The research objectives included: (1) developing a model designed to determine the optimum percentage of defendants to hold prior to trial, (2) developing a model designed to make decisions on whether a defendant should be released or held in jail prior to trial, (3) comparing cities having bail reform projects with cities not having them, (4) comparing cities that required arrested persons to provide 10 percent of the bond with cities requiring 100 percent of the bond, and (5) determining the causes and effects of variations across cities in the percentage of defendants held in jail prior to trial. The survey focused on the processing of arrested persons prior to trial. Respondents answered questions about the organization and procedures in pretrial release, supplied approximate statistical data (e.g., percent of arraigned individuals who were released prior to their trial and failed to appear in court for their trial), estimated statistical trends in pretrial release during the previous five years, reported on attitudes in their communities toward administration of bail, rated the importance of several criteria when determining if a defendant was to be allowed pretrial release, and indicated whether their city had a bail reform program, and if so, its characteristics. Demographic data (ranging from population to income to crime rates) about the 72 cities represented in the survey are also included in the file.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Nagel, Stuart S., Paul Wice, and Marian Neff. PRETRIAL RELEASE DATA, 1969. ICPSR version. Urbana, IL: Stuart S. Nagel, Paul Wice, and Marian Neff, University of Illinois, Urbana [producers], 1969. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    bail, bail hearings, cities, citizen attitudes, crime statistics, criminal courts, criminal justice system, demographic characteristics, legal reform, policies and procedures, policy analysis, pretrial detention, pretrial intervention, pretrial procedures, pretrial release, trend analysis, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1969

Date of Collection:   

  • 1969

Universe:    Police chiefs, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and bail project directors in 72 cities across the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data and aggregate data

Data Collection Notes:

The codebook is provided by ICPSR as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:    In a sampling of 80 cities, 280 prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and bail project directors in the cities were sent questionnaires. The 80 cities consisted of 35 with bail reform projects that emphasized systematic screening for pretrial release on recognizance and 35 similar in population and region without bail reform projects, since much of the questionnaire was designed to determine the causes and effects of bail reform. Ten additional cities were included as part of an oversampling for the state of Illinois in order to determine the effects of the Illinois system whereby a defendant could be released pending trial by posting 10 percent of the bond. Of those who were mailed them, 156 respondents, or 56 percent, sent back usable questionnaires, with at least one representative from 72 of the 80 cities sampled. The questionnaire recipients were determined by consulting such directories as the AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION CRIMINAL LAW DIRECTORY and the MARTINDALE-HUBBELL LEGAL DICTIONARY.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires, and standard sources providing demographic characteristics of cities


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-05-03

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