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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.

Although many courts across the country heavily rely on UA testing for pretrial release, there is inconsistent evidence about its effectiveness. There is inconsistent evidence about the effectiveness of UA testing to reduce new criminal arrests during pretrial release 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.