RENEWING THE PROMISE OF PRETRIAL JUSTICE FOR ALL
Almost 50 years ago, then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy convened the first national meeting on bail and pretrial release reform. That meeting led to federal, state and local legislation that changed the way in which pretrial justice was delivered in this country.
Yet the challenges of pretrial justice remain unresolved today. Currently 500,000 people each day - two out of three of those in our local jails - are charged with nonviolent offenses but can't afford bail. The cost to taxpayers is $9 billon each year.
On May 31 and June 1, the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, with the support of the nonprofit Pretrial Justice Institute, convened leaders from significant criminal justice stakeholder organizations and the pretrial community to update the important conversations of the 1964 National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice.
Speakers included Attorney General Eric Holder and incoming American Bar Association President William T. (Bill) Robinson.
Conference participants examined how far the country has come and how far we have to go to achieve safe and fair pretrial release and diversion practices in our communities. The symposium addressed the challenges and opportunities for forging effective alliances, building and strengthening innovative partnerships, and otherwise collaborating in ways associated with front-end decision-making in criminal case processing. In addition to helping shape new initiatives on pretrial justice, it is hoped that attendees will implement the broad-based recommendations for improvements in the administration of pretrial justice in order to maximize fairness, improve public safety, and contain costs to the system.