For Immediate Release: July 11, 2016
Contact: Fiona Druge, firstname.lastname@example.org, (646) 755-6126
JUNEAU – Today Alaska Governor Bill Walker will sign into law a sweeping criminal justice reform package that includes key measures to help the state’s pretrial system better serve the people of Alaska. In advancing pretrial reform, Alaska sets an example for other states. Over 60 percent of people locked up in our nation’s jails have not yet been to trial. As many as nine in ten of these people are stuck behind bars because they are too poor to afford bail for mostly low-level, non-violent charges. Unnecessary pretrial detention is unfair, wastes scarce public resources, makes communities less safe, and is hidden driver of America’s crisis of mass incarceration (research from the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Charitable Trust, which supported the Alaska reform, shows Alaska’s pretrial population rose by over 80% in just the past decade). This new law ensures more taxpayer resources are funneled toward addressing violent crime rather than detaining people who do not pose a threat to public safety.
Pretrial reforms in the law include:
Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute, issued the following statement about the new law:
“Alaska’s new transformative state-issued pretrial policy reinvests criminal justice funding in programs and practices that will be a boon to public safety and makes far better use of limited taxpayer dollars. These sweeping reforms are smart, bold moves. Too many people in our country accused of low-level and non-violent crimes are stuck in jail for days, weeks, or even months simply because they are too poor to make bail. By curtailing such unnecessary uses of our most expensive justice resource—jail—Alaska’s Justice Reinvestment work is making more money available for vital services citizens that care about and need.
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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. Learn more about PJI’s 3DaysCount initiative, a national campaign to advance commonsense solutions to widespread pretrial justice challenges in 20 states by 2021, here.
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.