The Pretrial Blog

  • 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…)


11/14/2018

Veterans Courts and the Heroic Imagination

In the summer of 1940, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat based in Lithuania, made a critical decision. Jewish refugees and other Polish citizens had come to […]
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 […]