This content has been compiled to answer the biggest needs and highlight resources for Pretrial professionals and their agencies. This includes pretrial officers, risk assessment specialists, counselors and therapists, administrators and managers, and data analysts. Our goal is to provide a singular page that can be bookmarked and returned to whenever a pretrial specialist wants to fix, fortify, or evolve something in their program or agency.
How can Technical Assistance help my Pretrial organization?
Providing guidance on best practices: TA can help a pretrial corrections agency stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in the field, and provide guidance on how to implement these practices in your agency.
Assisting with program design and implementation: TA can help a pretrial corrections agency design and implement new programs or initiatives, such as risk assessment tools or rehabilitation programs for pretrial defendants.
Offering training and professional development opportunities: TA can provide training and professional development opportunities for staff, helping them to build the skills and knowledge needed to effectively serve your agency's clients.
Providing support for data collection and analysis: TA can assist with the collection and analysis of data, which can help your agency track its performance and identify areas for improvement.
Facilitating the development of partnerships and collaborations: TA can help your pretrial corrections agency forge partnerships and collaborations with other organizations or agencies, which can help to improve the agency's services and resources.
What is an example of Pretrial Technical Assistance?
When the NIC provided Technical Assistance to the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia, it helped improve the agency's risk assessment practices and implement a new risk assessment tool.
Specifically, the NIC provided training and professional development opportunities for agency staff on the use of the new tool, and worked with the agency to develop policies and procedures related to its use. The NIC also provided guidance on data collection and analysis, helping the agency track its performance and identify areas for improvement.
Overall, the technical assistance provided by the NIC helped the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia to more effectively assess the risk levels of pretrial defendants and make more informed decisions about release and supervision. This ultimately helped to improve the agency's operations and better serve its clients.
This two-hour program discusses strategies for developing an effective pretrial process (e.g., arrest, interview, risk assessment and recommendation, first appearance
“The history of bail and the law intertwined with [this] history tell us that the three goals underlying the bail
"Over the last few years, Colorado has been working on statewide pretrial justice reform and seen incredible advancements in legislation
Like its previous edition, Measuring What Matters, Second Edition helps agencies gather consistent and meaningful data to track the performance
In line with directives from the White House, state authorities, and local officials, criminal justice agencies around the country have
Do I need to have a law library in my jail?
I want to know if I need to have a law library in my jail. What kinds of issues should I consider? What information do I need?
Like so many issues in corrections, the answer is: it depends. The point is not necessarily having a law library, but rather providing reasonable access to legal materials and the courts.
Nothing below is a recommendation or opinion from NIC. What is provided is information and resources so you can make an informed decision concerning how inmates at your facility can have access to legal materials and the courts - which can include a law library in the jail itself.
If there are prevailing state jail standards or relevant case law in your jurisdiction, you will need to meet those concerning access to legal materials and access to courts. Absent that, you might want to consider the American Correctional Association (ACA) Adult Local Detention Standards as well ACA's Core Jail standards as a basis for your policies. Here are the two relevant standards:
ACA standard 4-ALDF-6A-03 (Accreditation standards)
"Inmates have access to a law library if there is not adequate free legal assistance to assist them with criminal, civil, and administrative legal matters. Inmates have access to legal materials to facilitate the preparation of documents"
ACA Standard 1-Core-6A-03 (Core Jail Standards)
"Inmates have access to legal materials"
You will want to consider what the courts have said. Take a look at the following:
NIC publication authored by William Collins
Text from page 68:
"Over the years the Supreme Court decided several access to the courts cases involving inmates. The most important came in 1977, when the Court said that prison administrators have the affirmative duty to provide inmates with assistance or resources to allow them to meaningfully exercise their right of access to the courts, Bounds v. Smith. Assistance could take the form of persons trained in the law (such as lawyers, paralegals, or law students), adequate law libraries, or some combination of these. A 1996 Supreme Court decision dealing with access to the courts reaffirmed the core principle in Bounds, i.e., that the institution has an affirmative duty to provide some form of assistance (libraries or persons trained in the law) sufficient to give inmates the capability of filing non-frivolous lawsuits challenging their sentence or the conditions of their confinement, Lewis v. Casey."
"The principle from Bounds (and now Lewis) has been extended to jails, although application of the principle may be slightly different in the jail context depending in part on how long inmates remain in the jail. The longer an inmate remains in a jail, the more the right of “access to the courts” places the same demands on the jail as it does on the prison"
Document ID: 022570
Here are actual case law summaries:
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees state inmates the right to "adequate, effective, and meaningful" access to the courts. Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 1495, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977); Green v. Johnson, 977 F.2d 1383, 1389 (10th Cir.1992). We impose "affirmative obligations" on the states to assure all inmates access to the courts and assistance in the preparation and filing of legal papers. Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 583 (10th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 1041, 101 S.Ct. 1759, 68 L.Ed.2d 239 (1981). The Supreme Court instructs that states may satisfy this duty "by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law." Bounds, 430 U.S. at 828, 97 S.Ct. at 1498. Although this constitutional obligation does not require states to afford inmates unlimited access to a library, Twyman v. Crisp, 584 F.2d 352, 358 (10th Cir.1978), and there exists no rigid or static formula to assess whether a prison library's resources pass constitutional muster, Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 521 (9th Cir.1991), states must provide inmates with "a reasonably adequate opportunity" to present their legal claims.
In more understandable language:
"The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees state inmates the right to 'adequate, effective, and meaningful' access to the courts." Petrick v. Maynard, 11 F.3d 991, 994 (10th Cir.1993) (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822 (1977)).
The guarantee of court access is satisfied "by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law." Bounds, 430 U.S. at 828.