We love March at PJI. This month marks the 42nd anniversary of our founding as the Pretrial Services Resource Center, and the 12th anniversary of our reinvention as the Pretrial Justice Institute. And it would have been the second Pretrial Innovators Convention in Denver (had we not had a bomb-cyclone of snow!).
The field has evolved very quickly in just the last few years, and it has been both incredibly challenging and highly rewarding. PJI remains focused on what we call the “4Rs” of our 3DaysCount work – reducing arrests, replacing cash bail, restricting detention and raising equity – to achieve the “3Ms” (maximized release, maximized court appearance and maximized safety). We remain convinced that, based on research and experience, financial conditions of release are unnecessary and harmful. We believe that state level policy efforts – through all three branches of government – matter significantly in creating conditions for local implementation. We believe that communications, strategic planning and crisis management must be a part of an overall concept of how reform not just gets done, but stays done.
Pretrial justice is everywhere these days, and we feel stronger than ever that we play a unique role in the movement. We continue to work with state and local governments across the country. We are supporting – literally and figuratively – colleague organizations expanding their roles in advocating for good public policy, grounded in principles and values of decarceration as well as racial, economic and procedural justice. We continue to serve as your trusted resource to separate fact from fiction and to be ruthlessly compassionate in our support of your journey.
It is within this context that we hosted Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures, and James Cadogan, Vice President for Criminal Justice (overseeing their pretrial justice portfolio) on UP for the launch of their National Partnership on Pretrial Justice. It is a much more complicated landscape today than it was back in 2011 when we organized the National Symposium on Pretrial Justice. Hosted by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, the symposium launched the Pretrial Justice Working Group as a collection of committed organizations hell-bent on finding a way to raise up the need for pretrial justice reform. We didn’t all agree then on how to do that, just as we don’t today, but we do all agree that unnecessary pretrial detention is a significant part of mass incarceration.
When things shift in your space, it can give you a chance to do deeper reflection about your commitments, goals and strategies. There will be more to come from us here at PJI on our evolving theory of change, expanding our relationships, and holding ourselves accountable to the principles that guide us. But for now, watch and share the video recording of the Arnold Ventures announcement and see how you can take advantage of our ever-growing field.