Essential Reports

The State of Pretrial Justice in America

This report measures three basic indicators for each state with the goal of setting a baseline against which progress can be tracked: the rate at which people are detained before trial; the extent to which each state uses evidence-based pretrial assessment; and whether or not a state has functionally eliminated money bail.

Each state received a letter grade between A and F; one received an A, nine received Bs, ten Cs, 12 Ds, and 17 Fs. One state received an incomplete. According to this analysis, 25% of the people living in the United States now reside is a jurisdiction that uses a validated evidence-based risk assessment, where ten years ago, this figure was close to 10% (p. 13).

Access the report here.


Questions About Pretrial Assessment

This report is an overview of evidence-based pretrial assessment—how it is developed, how it is meant to be used, and what justice professionals and the public need to know. Since all assessment tools are not created equal, it also includes a brief discussion of the kinds of tools the Pretrial Justice Institute believes improve pretrial outcomes.

Access the report here.


Pretrial Risk Assessment Can Produce Race-Neutral Results

Validated pretrial risk assessment tools, when thoughtfully designed and tested and objectively applied, can help jurisdictions reduce racial and economic bias in the decisions they make and the outcomes they produce. For this brief, PJI compiled what has been learned from recent efforts to study racial bias in these instruments.

Access the Issue Brief here. 


Where Pretrial Improvements are Happening

These brief descriptions of pretrial improvements underway, currently happening, or recently accomplished, are organized by Changing Practice, Judiciary-led Change, Pretrial Litigation, Pretrial Legislation, Executive Branch-led Change, and Community & Grassroots-led Change. A state-by-state table is provided.

Access the Report here. 

What Pretrial Justice Looks Like Without Money Bail

Increasingly money bail is being recognized as unfair to those who cannot afford it, while also generating unwanted consequences. This report describes non-money options for pretrial justice, such as the use of pretrial assessment, preventive detention, and community supervision.

Access the Issue Brief here. 

Media Toolkit for Pretrial Justice Partners

The Media Toolkit is intended for individuals and organizations engaged in the effort to improve pretrial justice in the United States—both locally and across the nation. It is a summary of suggestions and useful tools for interacting with the media to advance positive change.

Access the Toolkit here. 

Improving Pretrial Justice in New Jersey

The Pretrial Justice Institute sat down with Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and one of the leaders in the effort to improve the state’s pretrial system, to talk about how it came about.

Access the Report here. 

Guidelines for Analyzing State and Local Pretrial Laws

This “how- to” guide is for those who research and analyze governing pretrial laws and rules and who make recommendations for reform.

Access the Report here. 

Pretrial Justice: How Much Does It Cost?

This brief summarizes what has been learned about the costs of the current system compared to legal and evidence-based improvements such as moving away from money bail, implementing pretrial risk assessment, providing court reminders, and monitoring or supervision.

Access the Issue Brief here. 

Key Features of Holistic Pretrial Justice Statutes and Court Rules

The desired outcomes for the 3DaysCountTM campaign are reduce arrests; replacing cash bonds with risk-based decision making; and restricting detention, through due process, only to those with unmanageable risks. This document does not present a “model” statute or court rule that can simply be inserted into law to replace existing provisions. Rather, it provides examples of language from existing statutes and court rules that show how lawmakers in other states have attempted to incorporate these features into their laws. Statements from the Standards of the American Bar Association (ABA) about how these features should be addressed accompany the examples.

Access the Report here.