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Rethinking Drug Testing during Pretrial

 JSP Staff

After police arrest a person and book them in jail, the court must make a release decision about the individual and decide to: release the individual with no conditions, release the individual with conditions, or keep the person detained while the court is working on their case. If the court decides to release a person from detention with conditions, one of these conditions can include urinalysis (UA) testing for drugs/alcohol.

Despite courts across the country relying on UA testing, there is inconsistent evidence about its effectiveness. There is inconsistent evidence if UA testing reducing likelihood to experience a new criminal arrest during pretrial, and there is no clear association between drug testing and appearing in court as scheduled.

This resource provides a summary of the research and provides practical considerations for centering equity.