According to an investigation by ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, U.S. Soldiers that face sexual assault accusations are less than half as likely to be detained before trial than other soldiers that face accusations like drug use or distribution. The news agency reached that conclusion after analyzing 8,400 court-martial cases of the past decade.
The ProPublica investigation explains what the concept of pretrial confinement means and why it is important to understand the data. Pretrial confinement is when an accused soldier of the U.S. Army is detained and locked up before his trial. The important issue is that the military commanders of the accused soldier, who aren’t required to be trained lawyers, are the ones who get to decide whether they are detained or not.
From analyzing who went to pretrial confinement and who doesn’t, ProPublica found out that on average, soldiers had to face at least eight counts of sexual offenses before they were placed in pretrial confinement as often as those who were charged with minor offenses like burglary. The agency also found out that while the rate of pretrial confinement more than doubled in cases involving drug offenses or disobeying a superior commissioned officer, yet it remained roughly the same for sexual assault.