Blog Archives

Agenda PJWG Meeting October 2013
Agenda PJWG Meeting 2013-10-29.pdf
141.5 KiB

Recommendations Of The 2011 National Symposium On Pretrial Justice
Recommendations of the 2011 National Symposium on Pretrial Justice.pdf
165.4 KiB

Kentucky Pretrial Services History Facts And Stats
Kentucky Pretrial Services History Facts and Stats.pdf
296.3 KiB

Youth Incarceration Infographic
Youth Incarceration Infographic - AECF 2013.pdf
283.4 KiB

Data Snapshot Reducing Youth Incarceration
Data Snapshot Reducing Youth Incarceration.pdf
3.3 MiB

FACT SHEET - Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective And Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option
FACT SHEET - Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective and Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option 2013.pdf
127.0 KiB

The Pretrial Reporter - FebMar 2007
The Pretrial Reporter - FebMar 2007.pdf
1.6 MiB

FACT SHEET - Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective And Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option
FACT SHEET - Unsecured Bonds, The As Effective and Most Efficient Pretrial Release Option 2013.pdf
127.0 KiB

PJWG Slides October 2013
PJWG slides - 2013-10-29.pdf
5.8 MiB


IACP Pretrial Justice Reform Initiative


The bail system in America is broken.

Currently, two out of every three prisoners in U.S. jails are not being held because they have been convicted of a crime, nor are they incarcerated because they pose an unmanageable danger to society.

In fact, two out of every three of those in our jails are there simply because they lack the few dollars needed to purchase their freedom pending trial. Upon conviction they will likely walk free—only 3% of arrestees actually end up going to prison. We cage them while they are presumed innocent and release them to the community once found guilty. The unnecessary confinement of so many people, often poor, has devastating affects on the individuals’ life.

This illogical process called bail is costing Americans more than $9 billion a year.

A few years ago a small group of criminal justice planners in Jefferson County, Colorado noticed the jail seemed to be overflowing with individuals waiting for their case to be heard in court. They decided to start collecting and look at the data to find out how many people actually were in pretrial status and what was keeping them in. What they found after a six-month examination of the jail surprised even them. (more…)

California’s Public Safety Realignment has created what Homer Simpson would call a crisitunity (crisis + opportunity = crisitunity). With an increasing number of convicted individuals serving time in county jails, authorities have had to reexamine their local criminal justice systems. What they’re finding is an amazing opportunity in the midst of a crisis. (more…)

For years the Pretrial Justice Institute has pointed to the use of bail schedules as not only contradicting U.S. Supreme Court law, but also pointing to their irrational nature. An example of this comes from a report out of California[1] that compares bond amounts between 10 different counties for two different offense charges. The graph below shows that an individual arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Fresno or Sacramento will likely receive a bond amount of $5,000 according to the county bail schedules. On the other hand, in places like San Bernardino and Tulare the presumptive bail would be 5 times that of Fresno or Sacramento at $25,000. (more…)

On July 3, New York Times Columnist Ethan Bronner wrote a piece on the unfairness and possible unconstitutionality of private probation companies. A week later, an Alabama Judge temporarily shut the system down. These private institutions had been given the ability to not only assess and collect fees, but also incarcerate someone if they could not pay. (more…)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Speaking at the 2011 National Symposium on Pretrial Justice

The 2011 Spending Reduction Act contains a dizzying array of federal spending cuts in addition to those mentioned in Courtland Milloy’s column of 1/29. Alcohol reduction programs for children, loans to encourage new prosecutors, economic aid to Egypt, etc., are all on the chopping block. One provision of the proposed Act does not cut federal spending however, even by a penny. (more…)

In a January 7, 2010 Washington Post Op Ed piece, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Republican leader of the California State Assembly Pat Nolan encouraged Republican and conservative legislators to take leadership roles in reforming the criminal justice system. Specifically, they suggested that legislators seriously consider implementing policies to reduce prison costs while still protecting public safety. (more…)

The Texas Tribune reported this week that jail inmates in Texas are dying at nearly the same rates as inmates in Texas prisons, despite the fact that jails house approximately half as many inmates as prisons, and for significantly shorter periods of time. Many of these jail inmates enter the county jails, said Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano, with “conditions that have been neglected for years because of poverty, substance abuse, or mental illness.” According to the article, these health care problems only become worse upon incarceration because jails are strapped for resources and staff, only able to provide the least costly medications and treatments. (more…)