Six Jurisdictions Named to Receive Pretrial Justice Technical Assistance

 

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

“Current pretrial practices in most of the United States result in unnecessary pretrial detention, increase crime, and exacerbate racial and economic disparities in our criminal justice system. These six competitively chosen sites have shown the will and capacity to tackle long-standing challenges that are faced by nearly every city, county, and state in the nation. PJI’s previous work has demonstrated that it is possible to improve outcomes and efficiency while also maintaining public safety and legal standards. We look forward to helping our new partner sites become the next set of pretrial leaders as they work to make their local justice systems even smarter, safer, and fairer.” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, PJI’s chief executive officer.

PJI’s technical assistance to the sites will build upon their prior work supported by key national initiatives, including the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, and the National Institute of Corrections’ Evidence-Based Decision Making initiative.

PJI’s technical assistance will also build upon lessons learned and successes of Institute’s prior work, which saw proven, evidence-based pretrial justice solutions applied in three jurisdictions over the past two years. Funding for this new initiative will be available for work through September 30, 2018.

Facts about pretrial justice in America:

  • Most people in American jails—more than 6 in 10—have not yet been to trial; the vast majority are there because they can’t afford cash bail.
  • More than 80% of criminal defendants qualify for indigent defense based on poverty.
  • Even three days in jail can result in loss of wages, jobs, housing, and family connections, leaving some defendants 40% more likely to commit future crime.
  • Nearly half of high-risk defendants exploit the money bail system and use bail bondsmen to get out.
  • The tools exist to replace the outdated money bail system with a risk-based system that is safe, fair, and effective, and many jurisdictions have demonstrated it is possible.

The Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) is a national organization working to advance safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice that honors and protects all people. To learn more about PJI or their 3DaysCount campaign, which will support commonsense solutions to longstanding pretrial justice challenges in 20 states, visit www.pretrial.org.

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