Pretrial Justice Institute compared unsecured bonds (no money upfront, but a promise to pay the full amount if one fails to appear) with secured bonds (whether cash or surety, one must pay upfront in order to be released) in 1,919 cases in Colorado.
Some key findings include:
- Unsecured bonds are as effective at achieving public safety as secured bonds.
- Unsecured bonds are as effective at achieving court appearance as secured bonds.
- Higher dollar amounts of secured bonds are associated with more pretrial jail bed use but not increased court appearance rates.
- Unsecured bonds use far fewer jail beds than do secured bonds because more releasable defendants leave jail (94% unsecured versus 61% secured), and leave sooner.
- Unsecured bonds are as effective as secured bonds at preventing defendants who fail to appear in court from remaining at-large on a warrant.
Fact Sheet Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective And Most Efficient Pretrial