For Immediate Release: October 31, 2018
Ben Schaefer, media contact for Pretrial Justice Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org | 646-200-5284
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today the Pretrial Justice Institute released results of a statewide poll of voter attitudes toward Georgia’s pretrial justice system and money bail. The results show 91 percent of registered voters in the state are dissatisfied with the criminal justice system and 66 percent want major change. Among the key findings: Georgians want a pretrial justice system that honors the presumption of innocence by supporting people who can be successful in the community before trial, provides community-based services to those who need it, and reserves detention for the relatively few people who pose a threat to community safety.
“The criminal justice system is a maze—once you get in it’s hard to get out—and Georgia leaders are taking their place in the national conversation about money bail and pretrial injustice,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, chief executive officer of the Pretrial Justice Institute. “We hope these findings can contribute to the dialogue about creating a pretrial justice system in Georgia that is fairer and that also provides safer, more effective outcomes.”
The poll found, among other things, that most Georgia registered voters believe the wealthy get substantially better outcomes from the criminal justice system, with 84 percent of all respondents and 97 percent of African Americans in agreement. Majorities also agree that community-based pretrial supports are fairer than money bail, and they endorse providing community-based support, such as education and counseling, to improve pretrial outcomes and services for people with mental health and substance use issues.
Other key findings:
Georgia is among the nation’s leading states when it comes to putting people in jail. For every 100,000 Georgians, 585 are in jail—and 312 of those are in pretrial detention; the average national pretrial detention rate, by comparison, is 220 per 100,000. In 2017, Georgia was one of 17 states to receive a failing grade in PJI’s report, The State of Pretrial Justice in America.
Find a summary of the poll results here.
About the Poll
This poll was commissioned by the Pretrial Justice Institute and was designed and administered by Lake Research Partners. The survey was conducted by phone using professional interviewers and reached a total of 555 registered voters (weighted sample of N=538) in Georgia. The survey was conducted May 2–17, 2018. Telephone numbers for the survey were drawn from a file of registered voters. The sample was stratified geographically to reflect the expected composition of registered voters statewide. Data were weighted by gender, age, education, party identification, race, and region. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.2 percent.
About the Pretrial Justice Institute
The Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) is a national organization working to advance safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice that honors and protects all people. “Pretrial” refers to the portion of the criminal justice system that extends from a person’s first contact with law enforcement until any resulting charges are resolved, through a trial, dismissal, or a plea. To learn more about PJI, visit www.pretrial.org.
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