Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Public Policy

Advisor

C. Lawrence Evans

Committee Members

Robert Hicks

John McGlennon

Abstract

Across the United States, pretrial incarceration is a major driver of climbing jail populations. One specific reform, called pretrial services is being instituted to some degree all across the country; however, most Americans still do not have access to these reforms. This paper will examine the distribution of pretrial reform and the partisan factors that influence access to pretrial services. Using both state-level analysis and county-level analysis of Virginia, this paper shows that areas with higher proportions of Republican voters are less likely to have pretrial services. The final chapter shows that this effect is partially explainable in Virginia due to the fact that more conservative counties are less likely to cooperate with other nearby counties and prefer to cooperate with other conservative counties. These findings imply that pretrial reform must be viewed as not simply a criminal justice or procedural problem, but as a distinctly political issue. States like Virginia that desire more widespread reform should alter inducements to encourage county cooperation for conservative districts to ensure that pretrial services is available to all citizens.

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