Diversion

  • What the New Jersey Report Shows Us (4/18/2019)

    Six years ago, a major catalyst for pretrial reform in New Jersey came in the form of a report showing that nearly 40 percent of people in jail in New Jersey were there because they could not afford bail. Several years – and a long road – later, New Jersey passed laws to provide sweeping changes to their pretrial justice policies and practices. Since January 1, 2017, when new laws went into effect, we have been watching for the outcomes of these changes, not just in terms of reducing arrests (bookings) and replacing cash bail, but in restricting detention and raising equity. We also needed to see rates of court appearance and public safety – the two purposes of the bail decision. We wanted data from the courts. And now, we have it.

    As a result of expanded use of citations-summons, the jail population has declined significantly. Since 2015, when preparation for pretrial reforms began, the pretrial jail population has fallen by nearly 44 percent. Money bonds have been functionally eliminated and de-facto detention to due an inability to pay has nearly disappeared. The few held for detention hearings are afforded full due process and then some are released with conditions of supervision. In 2018, the rate of pretrial detention was roughly 6 percent, meaning 94 percent of people were able to participate in their defense from home, with family, at their jobs, or in school, where they were best equipped to do so. The appearance rate in 2017, the most recent year cited in the report, was nearly 90 percent, only a slight decrease from before the reform. (more…)


11/14/2018

Veterans Courts and the Heroic Imagination

In the summer of 1940, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat based in Lithuania, made a critical decision. Jewish refugees and other Polish citizens had come to […]
05/02/2018

Step Up to Remove People with Mental Illnesses from Jails

56-year-old veteran Jerome Murdough was arrested for sleeping in the stairwell of a Harlem public housing project on a cold winter night. Murdough, who had been […]
04/04/2018

We Can’t Arrest Our Way Out of the Opioid Crisis

When you read about our nation’s opioid crisis and law enforcement’s response to it, you will first confront a host of shocking statistics that try to […]
02/06/2018

No More Missing Lego Pieces: Pre-Arrest Diversion and Pretrial Justice

Guest Blog by Jac Charlier, National Director for Justice Initiatives, TASC As a kid I loved playing with Legos. The way they felt and sounded when I […]
06/28/2017

Justice Through Empowerment

The following first appeared as a guest post on Facing Addiction’s blog, News and Updates: When I met Greg Williams, he shared with me his personal […]
03/20/2017

Facing Addiction: Pretrial Justice is Important to Addressing the Substance Use Crisis

Guest blog by Michael King, Director of Outreach & Engagement, Facing Addiction The so-called War on Drugs, now in its fourth decade, has cost over $1 trillion […]
04/26/2016

To Better Address Reentry, Restrict Entry

The Department of Justice has designated April 24-30 as National Reentry Week. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has asked all U.S. Attorneys to host a reentry event, […]
06/24/2015

They Shouldn’t Be There

By Spike Bradford, editor-in-chief of the Pretrial Justice Institute Late last year I traveled with photographer David Y. Lee to interview and photograph pretrial defendants in […]