Shelby County, which contains the city of Memphis, is the most populous county in the state.
When Shelby County joined the Safety and Justice Challenge, the number of bookings into its jail was decreasing, but the average length of stay was rising, particularly for in-custody felony defendants.
The Shelby County Jail is a pretrial detention facility. In August 2017, 15% of the people had been in jail for more than 500 days.
Racial and ethnic disparities persisted in the county’s justice system. Specifically, Black and Hispanic people were overrepresented in the jail.
Case processing times continued to increase. Delays in the held-to-state process, which refers to those cases that are bound over to the grand jury and reflect mostly felony cases, and lengthy time intervals associated with continuances, were identified as two main factors contributing to this increase.
Overuse of detention causes disruption in the stability of arrestees’ families and communities, leads to higher re-arrest rates, and produces worse case outcomes with more back-end incarceration.