For Immediate Release: June 1, 2016
Contacts: Fiona Druge, email@example.com, (646) 755-6126 – Pretrial Justice Institute Dana Gutierrez, firstname.lastname@example.org, (671) 300-9282 – Judiciary of Guam
Hagatna, Guam — Chief Justice Robert J. Torres of the Judiciary of Guam and Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), today announced that Guam is joining 3DaysCountTM, a national campaign to make pretrial justice safer, fairer, and more effective. The campaign will focus on improving pretrial justice laws and court rules—the crucial structures that support good criminal justice policies from the point of arrest to when cases are resolved. Guam is the first jurisdiction to announce its participation in 3DaysCount, which will support commonsense state- and territory-level reform aimed at improved public safety and better outcomes for systems and people.
“Acceptance as the inaugural member into 3DaysCount means we will receive support to promote commonsense solutions to longstanding pretrial justice system challenges that discriminate against the poor, fail to protect individual and community safety and squander public resources,” said Justice Torres.
“We are delighted to welcome Guam as the inaugural member of 3DaysCount and commend Justice Torres for his foresight and leadership in committing Guam to transforming pretrial justice,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute. “Stakeholders and the public now recognize how important pretrial justice is in protecting public safety and building trust with our communities. We are looking forward to working with Justice Torres, his fellow stakeholders, and the people of Guam to support commonsense solutions that are safe, fair, and effective. These aims can be achieved together.”
Over the next four years, 3DaysCount will work with representatives from Guam and up to 19 other states or territories, to be announced as they join the campaign, to realize three specific goals:
As a nationally recognized resource for legal and evidence-based solutions to common pretrial challenges, PJI will both support 3DaysCount sites’ reform agendas and also lead a national action campaign to directly engage communities in calling for transparency and needed change.
A Significant Opportunity for Guam:
In Guam, current high rates of pretrial detention have criminal justice officials seeking ways to eliminate inappropriate jail usage and avoid building costly new facilities. 3DaysCount will support leaders in Guam to improve court rules and justice system culture through access to national experts and a vast knowledge base of best practices, research, and experience. Guam’s participation in the campaign will enable the territory to cultivate a community of innovators who will develop pretrial justice solutions that increase safety, fairness, and efficiency.
“3DaysCount is great fit for Guam because it aligns with the Chamorro tradition of Inafa’ maolek,” said Justice Torres. “In calling upon us to work together to find humane, evidence-based solutions that protect public safety while also offering a more constructive response to people who, although accused of crime are presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. It invites us into a process that promises to restore harmony, order, and hope to large portions of our community.”
Stakeholder Support for 3DaysCount in Guam
General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, Attorney General of Guam
“The Office of the Attorney General of Guam supports working with the Judiciary and law enforcement to maintain a balance between the defendant’s right to pretrial release, and the rights of victims of crime, that assures their safety as well as the safety of our community.”
Richard Dirkx, Acting Executive Director Guam Public Defender Service Corporation
“Having adequate representation that provides equal protection for our clients during all stages of a criminal proceeding is critical to the Guam Public Defender Service Corporation. We are proud to be part of the 3DaysCount Campaign and we look forward to working with the Judiciary to modernize our approach to pretrial practices in Guam.”
About Money Bail
Today, nearly half a million legally innocent people are held in U.S. in jails at an aggregate annual cost to taxpayers of nearly $14 billion. Most of these men and women could be released to await trial in the community and be counted on, with a little support, to appear in court and not be rearrested while they handle their case. They remain detained solely because they are unable to afford money bail. It is unfair to hold a poor person in jail while another person who poses a similar risk level can pay money and be released. It is also unsafe. Research shows that as little as three days in jail can destabilize the things we know make people low risk: jobs and housing, education and health care, family support and connections. Moreover, current money bail systems threaten public safety—half of the highest risk people exploit the system and purchase their freedom without any supervision by the courts.
About the Pretrial Justice Institute
Since 1977 the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) has been a national resource for policy makers at the federal, state and local levels. PJI’s core purpose is to advance safe, fair, and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices and policies that honor and protect all people. We work to achieve this by monitoring the state of and advocating for pretrial justice in America; convening, educating, and supporting stakeholders to transform their colleagues and systems; and demonstrating that change is possible by working directly with jurisdictions on implementation. For more information about PJI and 3DaysCount, visit www.pretrial.org and www.pretrial.org/3DaysCount.