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Open Roads and Overflowing Jails: Addressing High Rates of Rural Pretrial Incarceration

Texas Public Policy FoundationThis publication from the Texas Public Policy Foundation examines the decades-long growth in rural pretrial incarceration. In doing this, the report unveils growth contributors and makes evidence-based recommendations to improve public safety while reducing the number of defendants held on pretrial detention. Solutions outlined in the paper include reducing the number of jailable offenses, expanding police diversion, and utilizing validated risk-assessments at intake. Research findings suggest that high recidivism rates could be the result of a loss of community stability, as a protracted jail stay undermines employment, housing, family engagement, and other potentially protective factors.