Date of Award
Master of Arts
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Many individuals in judicial systems throughout the world are detained in jail prior to the final case disposition. This has become a problem for criminal justice systems in developing countries, especially the Philippines, because a variety of factors lead legally presumed innocent individuals to spend long periods of time in jail before any formal determination of guilt. Prolonged pretrial detention in the Philippines could be argued to serve as incarceration without conviction. However, the existing literature on accused’s length of stay in pretrial detention in developing countries is lacking. Therefore, this paper sought to further the understanding of the factors that cause prolonged pretrial detention and what impact that length of stay has on the final case disposition. Using data taken from a list of detainees (N = 23,263) incarcerated in a large Philippine city jail from 2007-2016, this paper looked at the possible predictors of prolonged pretrial detention, measured as the length of stay in jail from date of commitment to date of case disposition. Linear regression was utilized to assess the impact of different theoretically relevant variables on length of stay. In addition to predicting length of stay, this paper also examined the effect of pretrial detention on the eventual outcome of the case, measured as not-convicted/acquitted and convicted. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess this potential relationship while controlling for relevant variables. Results show the gravity of the problem where inmates stay in jail for an average of 320 days before final case disposition. Additionally, the primary predictors of average length of stay in pretrial detention appear to be ethnicity, gang membership, and bail amount/bail offer. Surprisingly, an inmate’s average length of stay decreased the odds of conviction. That is, the longer the stay in jail, the higher chance of acquittal. However, many inmates had stayed in jail for long periods even when they are acquitted. These findings are discussed in light of the efforts to reduce length of case disposition in the Philippines.
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