The Pretrial Blog

  • Who’s Afraid of Pretrial Reform? (10/31/2018)

    With Messaging Month on the University of Pretrial nearly over, we decided to take the occasion of Halloween to discuss some of the scary language that some people use to stall, or even to reverse, pretrial reform. First, we will shine a light on these terms. Then we’ll talk about what we find truly horrifying.

    • “Black box algorithm” is a popular term, making pretrial assessments seem mysterious and inaccessible. Here’s the thing, though: not all assessments are created equal. The best pretrial assessments—and the only ones that courts should use—are transparent and publicly available. Properly implemented pretrial assessments have helped demonstrate, in places like Yakima County, Wash., that pretrial release is the most commonsense option and that reduced rates of pretrial detention do not change public safety or court appearance rates.
    • “Skin in the game” is genuinely Halloween creepy, and there’s no evidence to support claims that skin in the game—money—gets folks to court. However, studies show that unsecured bonds (which do not require payment to obtain release) perform just as well as secured bonds, and that court notification programs do a good job increasing court appearance.
    • RIP “Risk”! We know from statistical studies that the overwhelming number of arrested people are likely to succeed while awaiting trial: They make their court dates and are not arrested on new charges. That’s why there’s no “risk” in PJI’s preferred term, pretrial assessments.

    (more…)


10/31/2018

Who’s Afraid of Pretrial Reform?

With Messaging Month on the University of Pretrial nearly over, we decided to take the occasion of Halloween to discuss some of the scary language that […]
10/17/2018

Are You Ready to Talk?

The playwright Arthur Miller once said, “A good newspaper…is a nation talking to itself.” Right now, the nation is talking about bail. From national news outlets […]
10/03/2018

What is YOUR Pretrial Message?

October is messaging month on the University of Pretrial, which means we will be holding special events throughout the month aimed at helping people communicate effectively […]
09/19/2018

Black County Officials Call for Pretrial Reform

In March 2018, the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO) ratified a resolution on pretrial reform, calling on county officials to support the use of […]
09/05/2018

Early Representation = Limiting Detention

Although the Supreme Court has stated that counsel should be present at any “critical stage of trial,” what those stages are, exactly, is left to the […]
08/21/2018

What we’ve been UP 2!

The University of Pretrial (UP) just turned 2! Here’s a look back at some of the milestones that our community has helped us achieve in the […]
08/08/2018

Resetting the Default: Detention Should be Hard to Get

Today, the system’s ability to invoke unnecessary pretrial detention is akin to the easy, quick – often mindless – process of ordering a pizza for delivery […]
07/24/2018

Pretrial Freedom and the Presumption of Innocence

We all have heard of the Boston Tea Party and the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”  But the the rebellion was about more than a perceived […]
07/12/2018

Voters Ready to Change the Default of Pretrial Detention

We don’t like stupid rules at PJI. That’s probably one reason why Inc. magazine recognized us as one of the Best Workplaces of 2018. So when […]