Cite and release is a program implemented by some counties in the United States that allows police officers to issue citations rather than arrest people for certain nonviolent misdemeanors. This program, which began in Texas, has been adopted by various other states including California, Colorado, Maryland, Maine and New Mexico. The idea behind cite and release is to reduce the burden on jails by keeping minor offenders out of them while still holding them accountable for their actions. In this way it can help to save money while also reducing the number of people incarcerated for minor offenses (Gounev 2020).
In considering whether more counties should adopt cite and release programs there are several factors that need to be taken into account. First and foremost is whether or not such a program would actually be beneficial in reducing jail populations and saving money. There have been some studies conducted analyzing the effectiveness of cite and release programs which generally show positive outcomes (Harwell 2018). Such studies suggest that overall these programs can lead to significant reductions in jail populations as well as cost savings from reduced prosecution costs due to fewer arrests being made.
Do you believe that more counties should adopt cite and release
Second it needs to be considered how such a policy may impact public safety overall since its implementation could potentially result in fewer criminals being held accountable for their actions. Although there have not been any conclusive studies done yet on how cite and release affects crime rates numerous reports from law enforcement personnel seem to support the notion that such policies do indeed decrease criminal activity (Doyel 2017). Such reports are certainly encouraging but further study is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made about the effects of cite and release on public safety.
Finally concerns over equity must also be taken into account when deciding whether more counties should adopt cite-and-release policies or not. While it’s true that these types of programs typically operate under an assumption of defendant accountability they may also create disparities between those who have access to resources like legal counsel versus those who don’t have access (Thompson et al 2019). It’s important therefore that if additional counties decide implement such policies attention must be paid so as not create an unfair playing field between those with means versus those without when it comes law enforcement practices related justice system involvement (Wiley 2020).
Overall I believe more counties should consider adopting cite-and-release policies given evidence suggesting potential benefits both economically and with regards improved public safety outcomes as well as provided safeguards are put place ensure equitable treatment amongst all defendants regardless socioeconomic status or other variables . As Thompson et al writes “it appears likely use citation & summons strategies can improve social equity & operational efficiency within criminal justice systems” (2019)