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Pretrial - Policy & Legislation

Generally speaking, risk assessments were created to address a predominantly male population. While gender neutral risk factors such as criminal, substance abuse, and failure to appear (FTA) histories are relevant for both male and female populations, we are learning that gender neutral tools may miss critical gender specific risk factors that, if addressed, can achieve more successful outcomes with justice involved women.


  • highlight federal resources available to community corrections and criminal justice agencies; define service needs of justice-involved individuals;
  • showcase a local example of collaboration and resources utilization—San Diego County Probation;
  • and engage the criminal justice system in a live discussion about the resources available, how to access funding, receive technical assistance, and to motivate our leaders to want to do more.
CCCN LIVE National Forum Discussion Cover

The Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Pretrial Release and Detention Act(“UPRDA” or “the Act”) is already being considered by many American states as a significant improvement over the status quoin American bail. However, while the Act correctly recommends that states limit pretrial detention by enumerating “covered offenses,” which are those charges potentially detainable by law (what I call a “detention eligibility net”), it also instructs that if a state interprets its current constitutional right to bail not as a right to release, but merely as a right to have one’s bail “set,” that state may enumerate its list of covered offenses “independently of its constitutional [no bail] provision” and allow the detention of constitutionally bailable defendants through unaffordable financial conditions.

"It is our hope that this report will prompt detailed examinations of policy and practice in each state: bail policies, citation and arrest practices, overzealous prosecutors, over-burdened courts, harsh criminalization laws, rare or underfunded pre-trial services and diversion programs, and a number of other factors that send jail incarceration rates off the charts. Lawmakers need to know that in most states, their jail incarceration rate is higher than the combined prison and jail incarceration rate in countries like Australia, France, Libya, and Uganda."

"Wait, does the United States have 1.3 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture.

This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why people are locked up in all of those different types of facilities."

"Pretrial diversion (PTD) is an alternative to prosecution which seeks to divert certain offenders from traditional criminal justice processing into a program of supervision and services administered by the U.S. Probation Service. In the majority of cases, offenders are diverted at the pre-charge stage. Participants who successfully complete the program will not be charged or, if charged, will have the charges against them dismissed; unsuccessful participants are returned for prosecution."

"As concern in the United States has grown over the number of people behind bars, policymakers and the public are turning their attention to addressing the decades-long growth in the number of people held in the country’s more than 3,000 locally run jails—county or municipal detention facilities that primarily house people who have been charged but not yet convicted of a crime (known as the “pretrial” population), and those sentenced to a short term of incarceration, usually under a year. With local jail populations swelling from 157,000 on any given day in 1970 to over 700,000 people in 2015, there are now an astronomical number of jail admissions annually—nearly 11 million—prompting many to question whether local jails have grown too large, and at too high a cost for the communities they serve. This has in turn focused efforts among policymakers and the public to better understand and reform the size, scope, and distribution of local incarceration."

"Over the last few years, Colorado has been working on statewide pretrial justice reform and seen incredible advancements in legislation, policy, and practice. This video chronicles their journey so far in working to establish safe, fair, and effective pretrial justice in the state."

Pretrial Justice: The Colorado Story Cover

This is the place to look for significant pretrial legislation enacted by states starting in 2012. You can search by topic, state, keyword, status (adopted, enacted, override pending, pending, and to governor), bill number, year, and author. Topics are: Bond Forfeiture and Conditions Violations; Budget, Oversight, and Administration; Citation in Lieu of Arrest; Commercial Bond Regulation; Conditions of Pretrial Release; Court Guidance for Release Determinations; Diversion Programs; Eligibility for Pretrial Release; Pretrial Services and Programs; Risk Assessment; Specialized Populations; and Victim Protections and Policy.

State Pretrial Release Cover

"The decision to detain a person before he is found guilty of a crime, whether made by an arresting office, prosecutor, or judicial officer, can have a severe, lasting, and adverse impact. Pretrial detention is one of the worst things that can happen to a person: the detainee immediately loses his freedom, and can also lose his family, health, home, job, and community ties."


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