Pretrial Justice Loses Advocate and Friend


The community of pretrial justice reformers recently lost a very special member with the passing of Sue Brannen, on February 19, 2015. Sue spent the first part of her career in pretrial as the Executive Director of the Monroe County, NY pretrial services program. Under Sue’s leadership, this program was named by the U.S. Department of Justice as one of seven Enhanced Pretrial Services Programs nationwide, a model for other jurisdictions. While in New York, Sue also became involved in the New York Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, serving several years as its president. Leaving New York to return to her home state of Ohio, Sue went to work for the Franklin County Adult Probation Department, where she began to build that office’s capacity to deliver effective pretrial services. She also joined the Ohio Association of Pretrial Services Agencies, and was soon elected its president, giving Sue the distinction of being the only person ever to serve as president of two state pretrial associations. And for a period of 15 years, Sue served on the Board of Trustees at PJI, where she gave voice to the need to reform pretrial justice, and to the role that PJI could play in making that happen. In 2007, NAPSA presented Sue with its highest honor, the Ennis J. Oligiati Award, for having a sustained national impact on the advancement of pretrial justice.

In the days after her passing, Sue’s daughter found the many awards and honors that had been bestowed on Sue over the years for her work in pretrial justice, and read the condolence messages of many of Sue’s colleagues and friends in the pretrial world. She remarked that she had no idea of the impact that Sue had had within the pretrial justice field – that Sue had never spoken about her achievements. But that was Sue. She was never comfortable in the spotlight. She wanted the focus to be on the work that needed to be done.

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