Earlier this week, an investigative article by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune published its findings on the pretrial confinement rates for sexual assault in the US Army. What they found was quite concerning.
The latest Manual for Courts-Martial defines pretrial confinement as physical restraint imposed by order of competent authority or depriving a person (soldier) of freedom pending disposition of offenses. This physical restriction will only be allowed if there is a probable cause, which includes reasons of (1) an offense triable by court-martial has been committed; (2) the person confined committed it; and (3) confinement is required by the circumstances.
The researchers have sorted through over 8,000 cases filed in the last decade to the Army’s general courts-martial and special courts-martial, which are commonly compared to felony and misdemeanor courts, respectively, in the civilian system.
Their extensive research revealed that people suspected of minor misdemeanors and drug-related crimes are “more likely to be placed in pretrial confinement than those accused of sexual assault.”