District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency – 10 years of NO improvement; Massive taxpayer expense

District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency –  10 years of NO improvement; Massive taxpayer expense

by Ken Berke, Roche Surety

As per the DC Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) website, the goals are: “unnecessary pretrial detention is minimized, jail crowding is reduced, public safety is increased, and the pretrial release process is administered fairly.” 

  • DC has the highest incarceration rate in the US1.
  • DC has the highest crime rate per capita in the US. It is more than double the US  average2.   
  • The DC jail may have the highest disproportionate population in the US. More than 89% incarcerated are black3.
  • Since 2008, the DC Pretrial Services Agency has spent over $550 million of law-abiding taxpayer money on criminal welfare with no improvement.

Ten years later, how is DC PSA doing?  

  • DC PSA has released approximately 150,000 defendants at a taxpayer cost more than $550 million5
  • Over 25 million drug tests performed on individuals not yet convicted5
  • While most state jail populations have declined since 2008, DC has increased3
  • While US crime has declined by 21% since 2008, DC crime has increased by 3%2
  • DC has the highest crime rate per capita in the US1
  • At over 89% black, DC may have the most disproportionate jail population in the US3
  • DC PSA budget has increased by more than 35% since 2007 though the number of defendants in their programs have remained steady
  • No improvement in failure to appear rate
  • No improvement in arrest-free rate
  • No improvement in compliance rate


Table 5 Year Population Violent Crime Property Crime Total Crime Crime Change Crime Rate Crime Rate Change
US 2008 304,059,724 1,382,012 9,767,915 11,149,927 3.70%
US 2015 321,418,820 1,231,566 7,993,631 9,225,197 -20.9% 2.90% -26.40%
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 2008 591,833 8,509 30,211 38,720 6.50%
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 2015 672,228 8,531 31,435 39,966 3.1% 5.90% -10.90%

Source: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s

Source: https://www.csosa.gov/about/financial/budget/2017/FY17-PSA-Budget-Submission.pdf



Magic Mirror on the Wall…

Though DC claims to have eliminated “monetary” bail. Do not be fooled. They have not. All they did was shift over $500 million in cost from the defendant to the law-abiding taxpayer. Money is definitely being exchanged for pretrial release. It is monetary bail.

2015/2016 DC Pretrial Services Annual Report statistics:

  • A budget of over $60 million at a cost of over $4300 per defendant! 4
  • DC Pretrial personnel average compensation is over $125,000 per year!! Far more than the average taxpayer earns! 4
  • DC Pretrial employees “monitored” 14,142 defendants. Since there were 345 employees, that’s an average of only 41 defendants per pretrial employee4
  • DC Pretrial performed over 2 million drug tests4 on pretrial defendants. Pretrial agency advocates complain bail is “unfair” because defendants are “presumed innocent”. If they are “innocent”, why perform 2 million drug tests? How is it constitutional? Were the results used as evidence against those forced into drug testing?
  • In 2017, the outgoing DC police chief, Cathy Lanier, said the DC pretrial system is “beyond broken”.7
  • FBI/Bureau of Justice Statistics reports about 11 million arrests each year. If only one-third of those arrested went into a DC type pretrial program, taxpayer cost would be almost $16 billion per year!!
  • DC has a monetary bail system. Unfortunately, it is the law-abiding taxpaying citizen who pays! How is that “fair”?!

Wealthy, elitist bail elimination advocates like Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros want a DC style pretrial release system like DC throughout the US. It would cost taxpayers billions every year. DC PSA is like many other government initiatives that are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, the cost grows exponentially without the promised results. Is that good use of taxpayer money?

Say “NO” to Criminal Welfare! Say “NO” to the “Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act”!

District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency –

10 years of NO improvement;

Massive taxpayer expense.

  1. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/2016.html
  2. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-69
  3. https://doc.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/doc/publication/attachments/DC%20Department%20of%20Corrections%20Facts%20and%20Figures%20June%202017.pdf
  4. https://www.psa.gov/sites/default/files/FY%202016%20CBJ%20Budget%20Submission%20Final%201-26-2015.pdf
  5. https://www.psa.gov
  6. The average daily population at the Jail for September 2008 was 1,933.