In line with directives from the White House, state authorities, and local officials, criminal justice agencies around the country have modified operations to comply with social distancing, travel restrictions, and mandatory health orders due to COVID-19. These policies have a significant impact on the judiciary, causing courthouse closures, the suspension of jury trials, and the halting or modification of court orders. It has required criminal justice decision makers to swiftly examine their pretrial populations and practices to comply with these modified operations.
In this webinar you will hear from decision makers who were responsible for upholding these recommendations. They will share their challenges and experiences in implementing these directives, as well as the opportunities they found for adopting long- term practice changes that focus on maximizing public safety, court appearances, and release of pretrial defendants.
- Discuss the collaborative efforts among pretrial services, the courts, district attorney’s offices, and jails to manage the pretrial population during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Identify innovative approaches to support defendant court appearance and connection with pretrial service officers.
- Highlight early challenges and opportunities.
- Show how technology is playing a key role in the new normal.
- Provide key resources to the field.
- Greg Crawford, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
- Lori Eville, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
- Spurgeon Kennedy, Vice-President, National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies
- The Honorable Karen Thomas, Judge, 17th Judicial District of Kentucky
- Tara Boh Blair, Executive Officer, Kentucky Court of Justice, Department of Pretrial Services
- Kevin Burns, Captain, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico
- Krista Lawrence, Division Director, 11th Judicial District and Magistrate Courts, New Mexico
- Jon Tunheim, Prosecuting Attorney, Thurston County District Court, Washington
- Marianne Clear, Director, Thurston County Pretrial Services, Washington
This webinar aired on September 3rd, 2020.
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.
The past two decades have enhanced our understanding of pretrial risk. We now know that most individuals with pending criminal cases make scheduled court appearances and remain arrest-free as they await trial. When missed court dates occur, they often are not intentional abscondence but rather the result of unintentional or unavoidable circumstances. Further, most new cases filed against pretrial defendants involve misdemeanors and lower-level felony charges, not violent crimes.
However, while we recognize the infrequent and dynamic nature of pretrial misconduct, most justice systems define, and measure missed court appearances using the dated and overly broad “failure to appear” descriptor and view new case filings mostly as serious offenses affecting public safety. The result is an overestimation of defendant risk and overly punitive responses to misconduct.
This publication discusses the nature of pretrial risk, missed court dates, and new case filings. It also proposes more accurate and useful definitions for these events and presents strategies used nationwide to help prevent misconduct or to mitigate it when it occurs.
Behavioral health and social service needs are common in most arrest populations. For most individuals, these needs will not interfere with making court appearances and remaining arrest-free before trial. However, need can escalate into a heightened risk of pretrial misconduct for some people. This publication discusses the complexity of managing substance use disorder—a prevalent need in most arrest populations—and suggests a “pretrial intervention services” model that outlines when pretrial agencies should consider services, when services should be integrated into supervision support, and what treatment service strategies are best at the pretrial stage.
"This publication outlines suggested outcome and performance measures and critical operational data for pretrial diversion programs. Its goals are to present clearly defined and easily calculable measures that pretrial diversion programs can use to gauge progress in achieving their mission and strategic goals, improve business decisions, and illustrate pretrial diversion’s value in an evidence-based criminal justice system. The suggested measures are compatible with established national pretrial diversion standards and appropriate for any program established as a voluntary option to traditional criminal case processing and with a mission to: Reduce the likelihood of future arrests through appropriate interventions based on thorough assessments and intervention plans tailored to an individual participant’s risks and needs; and/or Conserve/redirect criminal justice resources to more serious crimes and those that warrant prosecution by providing a meaningful response to participant conduct. Each measurement description includes a definition, data needed to track the metric, and a sample calculation. Also included are appendices of recommended procedures on setting measurement targets and establishing meaningful quality assurance and quality control" (p. vi). Sections of this publication cover: the Evidence Based Decision Making Framework (EBDM); introduction; data quality; outcome measures—success rate, safety rule, and post-program success rate; performance measures—screening, placement, compliance, response, provision, and satisfaction; and critical operational data—referrals, time to diversion program placement, time in diversion, time in programming, and exits.
Like its previous edition, Measuring What Matters, Second Edition helps agencies gather consistent and meaningful data to track the performance of pretrial programs based on the mission and needs of their local criminal justice system.
The second edition emphasizes measures that “work” in the real world and introduces a new definition of what it means to be successful in pretrial services. Each measure ties to the three principles of bail—maximizing release, ensuring court appearance, and maintaining public safety—and features commentary discussing how the measure has changed over time based on changes in the pretrial field. Today’s pretrial service agencies use outcome and performance metrics as an integral part of their pretrial practice and training. With the development of professional standards for the pretrial services field comes the need to have measures that will help them meet the challenge.
This webinar introduces NIC’s new publication and highlights key defining outcome and performance measures for pretrial agencies. The session will also describe how to tie the key measures to the three principles of bail: maximizing release, court appearance, and public safety.
During this 90-minute interactive webinar, participants will:
- Be introduced to Measuring What Matters: Outcome and Performance Measures for the Pretrial Services Field, Second Edition
- Highlight key defining outcome and performance measures and supporting business practices
- Describe how to tie the key measures to the three principles of bail: maximizing release, court appearance, and public safety
- Provide specific site examples of jurisdictions implementing key measures and sharing successes, challenges, and lessons learned
This webinar originally aired on September 21, 2021 at 10am PT / 11am MT /12pm CT / 1pm ET for 90 minutes.
- Greg Crawford, Correctional Program Specialist, National Institute of Corrections
- Spurgeon Kennedy, President-Elect, National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies
- Barb Hankey, Manager, Oakland County Community Corrections, Michigan
- Jessica Beach, Community Justice Director, Yamhill County, Oregon
- Kelly Bradford, Statewide Pretrial Program Manager, Administrative Office of the Courts, New Mexico
- Domingo Corona, Director of Pretrial Services, Pima County, Arizona
- Janice Dean, Pretrial Services Director, 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania
- Rhonda Frank-Loron, Pretrial Program Manager, Madison, Wisconsin
This 30 minute program explores the National Institute of Corrections’ publication “Measuring What Matters: Outcome and Performance Measures for the Pretrial Services Field” (NIC accession no. 025172). This report provides guidance for making pretrial agencies more effective. Lori Eville and Spurgeon Kennedy are interviewed.
Criminal justice coordinating councils (CJCCs) emerged in the 1970s and 80s as a means for systemic collaboration to improve the justice system. To date, however, there has been little research on these entities. To address this knowledge gap, Justice Management Institute surveyed CJCC members nationwide to understand what value these professionals experience through their CJCC membership and the benefits that CJCCs bring to their jurisdictions. This publication, developed with funding from the National Institute of Corrections, presents findings from that survey.
“The history of bail and the law intertwined with [this] history tell us that the three goals underlying the bail process are to maximize release while simultaneously maximizing court appearance and public safety.” -- Timothy R. Schnacke, Fundamentals of Bail
Courts in the United States process millions of criminal cases annually. Each requires a judicial officer to determine the conditions of a defendant’s release pending adjudication—bail. Bail determination is one of the most important decisions in the criminal case processing, designated as a “critical stage” by the United States Supreme Court where liberty and due process interests are paramount. Justice systems that administer bail effectively have as their overarching goals assuring a defendant’s return to court and safeguarding the community. To help balance the individual’s right to reasonable bail with the public’s expectation of safety, these systems assess the likelihood of missed court appearances or new criminal activity using factors shown by research to be related to pretrial misconduct and provide supervision designed to address these risks. Moreover, these systems give judicial officers clear, legal options for appropriate pretrial release and detention decisions. As a result, unnecessary pretrial detention is minimized, public safety is enhanced and, most significantly, the pretrial release process is administered fairly.
Unfortunately, most local justice systems lack truly effective bail decision making components. Most judicial officers do not receive the information needed in bail setting to make the best decisions about release and detention, nor do they have a full statutory gamut of release and detention options to address the varying levels of risk found within the defendant population. Even when options exist, most systems lack the structure to monitor released defendants, to regularly screen detained defendants for release eligibility, or to safeguard individual rights and community safety.
The shortcomings of the current bail system have made bail reform part of the larger national discussion on improving America’s criminal justice systems. For most justice systems in America, achieving true bail reform will mean going beyond technical changes to a deeper and more holistic change in culture and attitudes about the concept of pretrial release; the rights of pretrial defendants; and what is truly needed to reasonably assure future court appearance and community safety. In order to achieve meaningful bail reform, all elements of an effective pretrial justice system must be defined and in place.
During the broadcast presenters will: Define the framework for developing a high functioning pretrial justice system; Discuss the importance of bail history and the legal processes underlying it; Identify the essential elements of a legal and evidence based pretrial justice system; Identify the importance of the criminal justice system to support a legal and evidenced based pretrial services agency; and Discuss the differences between technical and adaptive change within organizations and the effects on implementation.
This broadcast will answer the following questions: What is the roadmap to pretrial justice reform? Where do we begin? What is the history of bail reform, and why is it important to your work today? What are the essential elements of a high functioning pretrial system? What outcomes could you expect from collaboration among pretrial justice stakeholders? What changes are needed to become a high functioning pretrial justice system? Have you ever asked the question “What are the benefits of developing a pretrial agency?”
'The goal of this monograph is to inform criminal justice practitioners and state and local policy makers of: Promising and emerging practices in the pretrial diversion field; The state of pretrial diversion and major issues and findings within the field; and The challenges and opportunities facing diversion practitioners' (p. 4). Sections of this publication include: introduction; pretrial diversion'an overview; promising and emerging practices in pretrial diversion; and conclusion. An appendix highlights selected pretrial diversion programs.