Policy

  • 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…)


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 […]
02/21/2018

Prosecutors Turn Away from Money Bail

Of the many encouraging developments in pretrial justice recently is the growing number of prosecutors who are publicly acknowledging the limitations of money bail and the […]
01/09/2018

People Make Change (Data Helps)

In 2009, Google embarked on a study to answer a simple question: Does management matter? For a company that prided itself on recruiting the best and […]
11/20/2017

Feedback on The State of Pretrial Justice in America

By Cherise Fanno Burdeen Two weeks ago PJI released The State of Pretrial Justice in America, a nationwide report card measuring each state’s—and America’s—progress toward safe, […]
07/11/2017

Tax Officials Call Money Bail a ‘Bad Deal’

A new report out of San Francisco underscores—once again—how money bail fails the jurisdictions that use it and the people forced to pay for their liberty. […]
07/06/2016

Fairness is Fiscally Responsible

By Jane Wiseman and Stephen Goldsmith This guest post, re-posted from Data Smart City Solutions site of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School, […]
03/17/2015

The DOJ’s Ferguson Report Shows Why Our Bail System is a Disaster

This article originally appeared on msnbc.com on March 10, 2015 By Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Executive Director, Pretrial Justice Institute “It’s only three days.” That’s what a […]