For two years, the ACLU of Louisiana gathered and analyzed thousands of jail records and interviewed people directly affected by pretrial incarceration to compose a snapshot of who Louisiana incarcerates pretrial, for how long, and at what cost.

The landmark report – Justice Can't Wait – showed that after a 10.3 percent increase, Louisiana’s pretrial incarceration rate is now three times the national average and the highest of any state on record since 1970. The study, based on an analysis of thousands of jail records, found that 57 percent of people in jail had been arrested for non-violent offenses and that pretrial incarceration costs Louisiana taxpayers nearly $290 million per year. On average, the people represented in the study had been held behind bars for 5 and a half months – without trial or conviction.