Blog Archives

For Immediate Release: November 1, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

While Nation Gets a “D” on Pretrial Justice, Several States Show Promise of Reform

Washington, DC - A new report released today by the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) measures the quality of pretrial justice systems across the United States. The State of Pretrial Justice in America examines pretrial justice – the phase of the criminal justice system from initial contact with law enforcement to the resolution of charges through a plea, trial or dismissal – at the state level and for the nation as a whole. And as the report details, the state of pretrial justice in our country is alarming:

  • Over one-third of states received a failing grade due to high rates of unnecessary pretrial detention and failure to implement evidence-based tools to guide decisions about who goes to jail before trial.
  • The nation as a whole received a D: nearly two-thirds of the US jail population has not yet been to trial and only 1 in 4 Americans lives in a jurisdiction that uses a validated evidence-based pretrial assessment meant to guide discretion and reduce bias.
  • Only one state, New Jersey, earned an ‘A’ grade – New Jersey effectively eliminated money bail at the beginning of 2017.

There is cause for hope, however. The report highlights several states where significant pretrial improvements seem to be on the horizon, as more and more jurisdictions begin to move away from using money bond to make decisions about pretrial release. (more…)

For Immediate Release: October 4, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

 

Reframes "Risk Assessment" as Evidence-Based Pretrial Assessment to More Accurately Reflect the Role and Value of These Tools in Producing Pretrial Success

Washington, DC—The Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) has released today a new report titled Questions about Pretrial Assessment. As the title indicates, the report seeks to eliminate confusion and resolve common misconceptions about objective, actuarial assessment tools that help courts make better release and supervision decisions for people charged with committing a crime. In the process, the report also introduces a new, more accurate way of speaking and thinking about pretrial decision making tools and outcomes.

(more…)

For Immediate Release: September 20, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

 

Additions Enhance Expertise in Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and Best Practice in Evidence-Based Pretrial Justice

Washington, DC—Cherise Fanno Burdeen, CEO, and Chris Rodgers, Board Chair of Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) are pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to the organization’s board of directors:

  • Leslie C. Cooper, director of the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia
  • Hassan Aden, former chief of police in Greenville, NC, former Director of Research and Programs for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and Steering Committee member at Law Enforcement Leaders
  • Adam J. Foss, former assistant district attorney in Boston, MA, and co-founder of Prosecutor Impact, a nonprofit working to reframe the role of prosecutors in the criminal justice system

(more…)

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

 

Cities & Counties Work To Address Longstanding Barriers to Justice

The Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) has selected six local jurisdictions to receive targeted technical assistance from PJI funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Each of the sites will focus on a specific topic designed to help the jurisdiction improve the performance of its pretrial justice system—the portion of the criminal justice system that extends from a person’s first contact with law enforcement until any resulting charges are resolved, usually through a trial, dismissal or a plea.

The six sites and their chosen topics are:

  • Alachua County, FL—Enhancing and Ensuring Racial and Ethnic Equality
  • Lucas County, OH—Minimizing Technical Violations and Re-Admission
  • Marion County, IN—Detention Hearings
  • Mecklenburg County, NC—Minimizing Technical Violations and Re-Admission
  • San Francisco, CA—Procedural Justice at First Sight
  • Santa Clara County, CA—Enhancing and Ensuring Racial and Ethnic Equality

(more…)

For Immediate Release: June 22, 2017

Contact:  Fiona Druge, Pretrial Justice Institute,  fiona.druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126; Lorrie Thompson, Administrative Office of the Courts, (360) 705-5347 

3DaysCount Campaign Offers Path to Fairer Outcomes, Greater Public Safety, and Better Use of Public Resources

SEATAC, WA — Members of the Washington state judiciary and Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), today announced that Washington state is forming a Pretrial Reform Task Force and will partner with PJI through 3DaysCount, PJI’s national campaign to make pretrial justice in America safer, fairer, and more effective. The announcement was made at the kick-off meeting of the Task Force, a joint effort by the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission, the District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association, and the Superior Court Judges’ Association to evaluate the state’s pretrial justice system.

Washington joins other pretrial reform leaders and 3DaysCount members Connecticut, Guam, and Illinois to focus on evaluating proven, evidence-based improvements in pretrial justice—the phase of the criminal justice system that extends from first contact with law enforcement to resolution of any resulting charges. (more…)

For Immediate Release: June 7, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, fiona.druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

Reducing Use of Money Bail Advances Public Safety and Equality in Connecticut

In response to the passage of bail reform legislation in Connecticut last night, Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute, issued the following statement:

“Governor Malloy’s commitment to  moving Connecticut away from money bail is a testament to his strong leadership, and the Pretrial Justice Institute is proud to be partnering with him on our 3DaysCount campaign to improve pretrial justice in 20 states by 2020. Money bail discriminates against poor and working class people and wastes taxpayer resources. Research shows that it leads to worse outcomes for low-risk individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system while also making our communities less safe by allowing dangerous people with money to buy their way of jail. The passage of this bipartisan legislation curbing the use of money bail is an important step toward making Connecticut’s justice system safer, fairer, and more effective.”

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Cherise Fanno Burdeen leads the Pretrial Justice Institute, a national organization working to advance safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice that honors and protects all people. Her analysis has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,  The New Yorker, The Economist,   The Atlantic, NewsMax, Reason, and The Washington Post.

To schedule an interview or learn more about The Pretrial Justice Institute, please contact Fiona Druge at Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com or (646) 755-6126.

For Immediate Release: May 31, 2017

Contact: Fiona Druge, Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126

 

Statement from the Pretrial Justice Institute

Today, money bail reform legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Hertzberg passed the state Senate. A companion bill from Assemblymember Rob Bonta is expected to move to a floor vote this week as well.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Chief Executive Officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute issued the following statement in response to the bill’s passage through the state Senate:

“The improvements in these bills will make California’s pretrial justice system more effective and fair. Currently California detains low-risk legally innocent people simply because they can’t afford to purchase their freedom, while allowing dangerous, wealthy defendants return to the community before trial. (more…)

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2017
Contact: Fiona Druge, fiona.druge@berlinrosen.com,

Texas Federal Judge Rules County’s Money Bail System is Unconstitutional

In response to a ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordering Harris County, Texas to stop jailing people before trial on misdemeanor charges simply because they could not afford bail, Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute, issued the following statement:

This landmark ruling is a turning point for Harris County and the work to improve pretrial systems across this county. It shows that the courts recognize not only what many people within the criminal justice system know—that detaining low-risk, legally innocent people because they cannot afford their freedom is costly and ineffective—but also that using money to determine who stays in jail and who gets released is a violation of the Constitution’s basic guarantees of due process and equal protection. The ruling finds Harris County doesn’t have a reasonable basis to believe that money bail ensures better pretrial outcomes, and orders Harris County to release misdemeanor defendants. (more…)

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2017
Contact: Fiona Druge, fiona.druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126; NAPSA, Jim Sawyer, Executive Director, (202) 957-4250

Largest National Association of County Governments (NACo) Unites in Call for Use of Pretrial Risk Assessment & Elimination of Commercial Bail Bonding Industry

Washington DC – At their February 27th annual Legislative Conference, the National Association of Counties (NACo) adopted a policy resolution supporting further improvements to county and state level pretrial justice systems to ensure no one is incarcerated solely because they cannot afford to buy their freedom. Citing the demands of due process and equal protection, NACo called on the U.S. Department of Justice to advise counties and states to make seven concrete improvements, including the adopting pretrial risk assessment and the elimination commercially secured bonds.  (more…)

For Immediate Release: February 23, 2017
Contact: Fiona Druge, fiona.druge@berlinrosen.com, (646) 755-6126; Chris Collibee (Office of Governor Dannel Malloy), chris.collibee@ct.gov, (860) 205-7457

3DaysCount Campaign Offers Path to Fairer Outcomes, Greater Public Safety, and Better Use of Public Resources

Connecticut — Governor Dannel Malloy and Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), today announced that Connecticut is joining 3DaysCount, a national campaign led by the Pretrial Justice Institute to make pretrial justice in America safer, fairer, and more effective. Connecticut joins Guam and Illinois as the third jurisdiction to join the 3DaysCount campaign, which is focused on implementing proven, evidence-based improvements in pretrial justice—the portion of the criminal justice system that extends from first contact with law enforcement to resolution of any resulting charges. (more…)