Multimedia Room

 Bails, Fines, and Fees

The Vera Institute of Justice explains the financial bail system in New Orleans and the effects of an inability to pay one's cash bail. This video was produced as part of Vera’s project, "Past Due: Examining the True Costs of the User-Pay Justice System in New Orleans."

 Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative

The Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative is a three year initiative funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to test the cost savings and public safety enhancements that can be achieved by improving pretrial policies and practices. Visit to learn more.

Pretrial Justice and Victims' Rights

PJI Board member and national crime victim advocate, Anne Seymour, discusses the role of victims' rights in pretrial justice. To learn more see our document, 3DaysCountTM for Individual and Community Safety

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bail (HBO)

John Oliver explains why America’s bail system is better for the reality tv industry than it is for the justice system.

PBS NewsHour: How poverty and mental illness are putting more people behind bars

More Americans than ever before are spending time in jail despite a drop in the crime rate in the past two decades. That's according to a new report that also found that a disproportionate number of people in jail suffer from mental illness. Judy Woodruff discusses the findings with Nicholas Turner of the Vera Institute of Justice and Margo Schlanger of the University of Michigan.

Public Welfare Foundation Grantee: Pretrial Justice Institute

The Public Welfare Foundation supports the Pretrial Justice Institute in their efforts to improve pretrial justice systems across the country. Featured is Pretrial Justice Institute Executive Director Cherise Fanno Burdeen.

Detaining the Dangerous Defendant: A Necessary Part of Pretrial Reform

In the current system, dangerous defendants can often purchase their freedom regardless of risk. This video highlights the dangers of the current pretrial decision-making process. See detailed coverage of Trooper Hofacker's story on 7News Denver here.

Pretrial Justice: The Colorado Story

Over the last few years, Colorado has been working on statewide pretrial justice reform and seen incredible advancements in legislation, policy, and practice. This video chronicles their journey so far in working to establish safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice in the state.

Pretrial Justice: Research Evidence and Future Prospects -- Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy

The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, in collaboration with PJI, held its seventh congressional briefing on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014. The theme was, "Pretrial Justice: Research Evidence and Future Prospects." Distinguished speakers presented research on local, state, and federal pretrial issues, including pretrial detention, risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, the use of bail and diversion. Much of the research and progress in pretrial justice is thanks to the generosity of the Public Welfare Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

View the full briefing here.

Gideon Initiative for Representation at Pretrial -- Gideon Freedom Hearings

More than 50 years after the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Clarence Earl Gideon, poor defendants across the country are still being denied access to legal counsel at bail review hearings. Often times defendants who do have representation are being underserved by public defenders who are overburdened and under resourced. This video examines the importance of pretrial representation and provides valuable insight to practitioners as to how they may most affectively represent a client in a criminal case.

For more information visit

International Association of Chiefs of Police -- Pretrial Justice Reform Initiative

The IACP recognizes that law enforcement leaders are critical stakeholders in their local criminal justice systems, and as such, have a powerful voice to open the discussion on how pretrial decision-making is handled and the consequences of that system. The IACP recognizes the critical need for bail reform; a critical first step is advocating for the use of a risk assessment for the judiciary to use when considering pretrial release.

For more information visit

National Association of Counties

-- Pretrial Justice Reform

Jails throughout the nation have become increasingly expensive to operate and overcrowded, and counties are increasingly being forced to make difficult decisions to maintain due process and public safety in a cost-effective manner. Many counties have found that pretrial justice reforms, such as assessing risk, can successfully reduce their jail populations and lower jail spending without compromising public safety.​

Comprehensive pretrial services programs rely upon a validated, evidence-based screening tool to evaluate and ​​​assess individuals' risk factors upon arrest and/or booking in an effort to o​bjectively and impartially inform release decisions and supervision conditions to assure a defendant's return to court and ensure public safety.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

For more information visit

National Symposium on Pretrial Justice

-- Symposium Highlights

On May 31 and June 1, the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, with the support of the nonprofit Pretrial Justice Institute, convened leaders from significant criminal justice stakeholder organizations and the pretrial community to update the important conversations of the 1964 National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice. Speakers included Attorney General Eric Holder, American Bar Association President William T. (Bill) Robinson, and President of the Conference of Chief Justices, Eric T. Washington. This video presents highlights from the speakers.

Resources from the symposium are available here.

National Symposium on Pretrial Justice

-- Attorney General Eric Holder

The 2011 National Symposium on Pretrial Justice convened by the Office of Justice Programs of the U.S. Department of Justice, together with the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), highlighted the major shortcomings in current pretrial release decision making practices and showcased efforts to improve those practices.

In this video Attorney General Eric Holder points to the deficiencies in the current system and points to how stakeholders from across the justice system can come together to improve pretrial justice in America.

Resources from the symposium are available here.

Conditions of Release

-- Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia

The Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia is the Federal agency responsible for gathering information about newly arrested defendants and preparing the recommendations considered by the Court in deciding release options. The agency recommends the least restrictive conditions that promote public safety and return to court. Virtually no defendants currently are released on surety bonds.

PSA supervises defendants released to the community through a variety of programs that include drug treatment, mental health services and referral to a range of social services.

PSA has partnerships with various justice agencies and community organizations as a way to build our capacity for support services for defendants under pretrial supervision.

For more information visit

All America Wants to Know

--Bail or Jail (1964)

One of the first studies examining alternatives to traditional money bail was conducted by the Vera Foundation (now the Vera Institute of Justice). The Manhattan Bail Project began in October 1961 and was designed “to provide information to the court about a defendant’s ties to the community and thereby hope that the court would release the defendant without requiring a bail bond [i.e., release on the defendant’s own recognizance].”

The project generated national interest in bail reform, and within two years programs modeled after the Manhattan Bail Project were launched in St. Louis, Chicago, Tulsa, Washington D.C., Des Moines, and Los Angeles. Shortly after, in 1964, then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy convened the first National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice.

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative

--These Are Our Kids

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, focuses on making informed detention decisions about youth involved in the justice system. Like the adult justice system, many youth are unnecessarily detained at great expense, with long-lasting negative consequences for both public safety and youth development.

More information on the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative is available here.

Modernizing Maryland's Bail System

Midday - WYPR. June 8, 2016.


Bail Reform

Performance Today with Kyle Kelams - NPR. April 21, 2016.


Presumption of Innocence For Sale

The Takeaway with John Hockenberry - NPR. July, 2015.


New Calls For Reform Of Our Local Criminal Justice Systems

The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU 88.5 - NPR. February 12, 2015.


Risk-based Decisions Improve Results I

Risk-based Decisions Improve Results II

NACo Podcasts. March 6, 2014


Behind the Bail Bond System

Part 1: Bail Burden Keeps U.S. Jails Stuffed With Inmates (January 21, 2010)

Part 2: Inmates Who Can't Make Bail Face Stark Options (January 22, 2010)

Part 3: Bondsman Lobby Targets Pretrial Release Programs (January 22, 2010)

NPR Special Series.