Barred From Freedom: Some County Jail Statistics

Categories: Law & Order

Anthony Freda
This week's feature story, "Barred From Freedom," explores the way pretrial detention disproportionately damages the lives of poor people, who often do not have enough money to post bail.

Not every unconvicted person in jail is immediately bailable. Many have probation, parole, or immigration holds that must be worked out before they can pay their way to freedom. For instance, an unconvicted inmate with an immigration hold must first see an immigration judge and possibly pay a separate bail amount to keep out of immigration detention, before he can pay his county jail bail.

According to the Sheriff's Department, at least 44 percent of San Francisco's unconvicted jail population (582 out of around 1300) are immediately bailable.

See also: Barred From Freedom: How Pretrial Detention Ruins Lives

Some need much more money than others. Here is a breakdown of bail amounts among county jail inmates, as of Oct. 9:

Less than $10,000: 3.3 percent
$10,000-$49,000: 15.8 percent
$50,000-$99,000: 15.8 percent
$100,000-$999,000: 43.6 percent
$1 million-$7 million: 19.2 percent
$10 million-$20 million: 2.2 percent

While loads of anecdotal evidence -- such as the cases presented in "Barred From Freedom" -- has shown that some unconvicted inmates await trial behind bars for months, there is no hard data to put numbers behind the personal stories. The state and county keeps statistics for inmates' average time spent in jail. But neither parses this stat to distinguish between convicted and unconvicted.

Here are the average jail stays for all inmates in San Francisco, as of Oct. 9 (83 percent of this population is unconvicted):

0-2 days: 57 percent
3-7 days: 15 percent
7-30 days: 12.5 percent
3-30 days: 27 percent
1-4 months: 13 percent
4 months-1 year: 2.4 percent
More than 1 year: .03 percent

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