Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 315–348 | Cite as

Predicting pretrial misconduct with drug tests of arrestees: Evidence from eight settings

  • William Rhodes
  • Raymond Hyatt
  • Paul Scheiman


Identifying defendants at high risk of pretrial misconduct is a major problem for the judiciary. Currently, some have argued that testing arrestees for recent drug use is one way to distinguish between those who will and those who will not commit pretrial misconduct. The research reported here questions whether the incremental predictive power resulting from drug testing always improves predictions of pretrial misconduct. Using survival analysis to study time until rearrest and a probit model to analyze the occurrence of a failure to appear, we show that urine test results have no consistent power to predict pretrial misconduct after accounting for defendant's criminal records, community ties, and other factors commonly known by the court. These results are based on our analysis of eight data sets from different locales, time periods, and age groups.

Key Words

pretrial misconduct drug testing survival analysis unmeasured heterogeneity selection bias 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Rhodes
    • 1
  • Raymond Hyatt
    • 1
  • Paul Scheiman
    • 1
  1. 1.Abt Associates Inc.Cambridge

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