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Efficacy and Effects of Pretrial Electronic Monitoring

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Grant Recipient: Georgetown University

Principal Investigator(s): Roman Rivera

Term: 2024 – 2025

Funding: $84,019

Summary: This project studies the effects of pretrial electronic monitoring (EM) on defendant outcomes and crime. EM appears attractive to policymakers seeking alternatives to pretrial detention and release. EM aims to reduce pretrial misconduct compared with release but at a lower cost than detention. However, despite its growing popularity in the US, EM is an understudied tool. 

Furthermore, it is unclear if there are unexpected costs associated with EM, such as additional criminal justice involvement due to non-criminal violations. This project focuses on defendants in a major US jail and court system in Cook County, Illinois, and leverages judge assignment to overcome selection issues associated with which defendants are assigned to release, EM, or detention. The study aims to inform future policy by documenting the effect of EM, and it will focus on defendant outcomes that are relevant for both individuals and their communities more broadly, such as pre-and post-trial misconduct, the direct costs of operating EM and detention, and case outcomes. 

This project also aims to increase our understanding of EM’s effectiveness in other environments and its effects on different populations by surveying the existing academic literature, as well as knowledge about the scope of EM’s existing usage in the US criminal justice system.