For Immediate Release: April 17, 2018
Contact: Fiona Druge, firstname.lastname@example.org, (646) 755-6126
Birmingham, Alabama – Following an agreement reached between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Tenth Judicial District of Alabama to improve pretrial justice practices in Jefferson County, Alabama, the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) issued the following statement:
“Local jurisdictions across America are increasingly realizing that their use of money bail violates the U.S. Constitution and is out of sync with national best practices. Civil rights litigation is expensive and puts system stakeholders in a defensive posture. Through this historic settlement agreement, Jefferson County, Alabama is demonstrating that local leaders can head off legal challenges by advancing improvements that not only better comply with our nation’s ideals of equal justice, but also produce better outcomes for all people, including victims. PJI is proud to be the DOJ’s long-standing provider of technical support to leaders at both the local and state level and we look forward to working with others in Alabama and beyond,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Chief Executive Officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute
This binding agreement comes in response to a complaint filed by a civil rights group and a subsequent investigation by the DOJ’s Office for Civil Rights into Jefferson County’s lack of an objective decision-making framework for pretrial release decisions, leading to discriminatory outcomes. In response to this complaint, the county sought technical assistance from PJI to find alternatives to a fixed money bond system, and to implement an objective system of pretrial justice.
PJI helped the county to voluntarily adopt an objective, evidence-based pretrial assessment tool to aid judicial decision making. In addition, PJI advised in the development of least restrictive conditions of pretrial release to support safer, fairer, and more effective pretrial justice in Jefferson County. The binding agreement reached with the DOJ this month solidified these pretrial improvements by providing DOJ oversight of:
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The Pretrial Justice Institute is a national organization working to advance safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice that honors and protects all people.
To schedule an interview or learn more about the Pretrial Justice Institute, please contact Fiona Druge at Fiona.Druge@berlinrosen.com or (646) 755-6126.