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Pilnik, Lisa

This document highlights the commitment of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) to define and support evidence-based practices that improve decision-making at the pretrial stage of our criminal justice system, enhancing the safety of America’s communities and fostering the fair administration of pretrial release and detention. With the release of A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency, NIC and its Pretrial Executive Network helps inform the discussion on bail reform and pretrial justice by presenting and defining the fundamentals of an effective pretrial system and the essential elements of a high functioning pretrial services agency. This publication presents and describes these essential elements—as well as the components of an evidence-based framework for improving pretrial outcomes nationwide. 

Bail determination is one of the most important decisions in criminal justice. Courts that make evidence-based decisions set the following as goals: (1) Protecting community safety; (2) Ensuring a defendant’s return to court; (3) Basing release and detention decisions on an individual defendant’s risk and the community’s norms for liberty; [and] (4) Providing judicial officers with clear, legal options for appropriate pretrial release and detention decisions.

A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency should serve as a guide for jurisdictions interested in improving their current pretrial systems. By presenting a framework of evidence-based and best practices, NIC supports the equally important concepts of pretrial justice and enhanced public safety in all of America’s courts. 

A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency cover

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are twice as likely as other youth to be sent to a juvenile detention facility for committing “status offenses” such as truancy or running away from home. LGBTQ youth are also overrepresented in the juvenile justice system generally, and once in the system are more likely to be the target of abuse and violence, including at the hands of other youth. LGBTQ youth may also receive overly harsh punishments due to biased decision-making or misguided attempts to keep them “safe” through the use of unnecessary isolated housing. How can systems more appropriately serve youth who commit status offenses and are LGBTQ?” This webinar will explain how your agency can do this. Topics covered include: why LGBT youth are particularly vulnerable; zero tolerance policies and LGBT youth; when safety nets and support systems fail; the need for this training; factors leading to juvenile justice system involvement; common experiences in locked facilities; sexual victimization; isolation; classification; lack of understanding; recommendations from the National Standards for the Care of Youth Charged with Status Offenses and LGBTQ youth; principles for responding to status offenses; avoiding or limiting court involvement; recommendations for LGBTQ youth; helping LGBTQ youth avoid court involvement for status offenses; and responding to LGBTQ youth who may have committed status offenses.

LGBTQ Youth and Status Offenses: Improving System Responses and Reducing Disproportionality [Webinar] Cover
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