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National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO)

"State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including release eligibility, conditions of release, bail, commercial bail bonding and pretrial diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe pretrial practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts" (p. 1). Brief descriptions are provided for the following legislative: citation in lieu of arrest; pretrial release eligibility; guidance for setting release conditions; pretrial release conditions; pretrial detention; bail bond agent licensure; bail bond agent business practices; bail forfeiture procedures; recovery agents (aka bounty hunters); victims' rights and protections; and pretrial diversion.

A Brief Overview of Pretrial Release Laws Cover

The chart available at this website provides “information on statutory guidance for setting pretrial release conditions” by state. Data presented includes the state, regulating statute, presumption of personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond, least restrictive conditions required, and whether a risk assessment is required.

Guidance for Setting Release Conditions Cover

"Justice Reinvestment is a process used by a growing number of states to curb corrections costs, reduce offender recidivism and maintain public safety. The data-driven reforms have been bipartisan, cross-governmental and impactful. Policies aim to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest the savings in strategies that increase public safety and hold offenders accountable. Justice Reinvestment typically involves: Developing and adopting policies that manage existing resources and generate savings without compromising public safety; Reinvesting a portion of those savings in criminal justice and other community programs that further reduce recidivism and prevent crime; [and] Measuring the fiscal and criminal justice effects of these reforms and reinvestments to ensure that projected results and benefits are achieved. States also have applied a justice reinvestment process to develop juvenile justice policies that protect public safety, hold youth accountable and contain costs." This interactive map will take you to a wide range of information about those states that are engaged in justice reinvestment. It shows both adopted adult reforms or adopted adult and related juvenile reforms. Information provided includes legislation bill summaries, fiscal notes, Executive Orders, reports, and technical assistance provided by either the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts or by the Council of State Governments (CSG).

Justice Reinvestment cover

“State constitutions and statutes specify which defendants may be detained before trial … However, denial of release is not absolute. A court must make certain determinations before ordering detention … While state laws broadly provide for presumption of release, they also define who is and is not eligible for pretrial release, and under what conditions.” A chart showing pretrial release eligibility by state is available at this website. The chart shows the state and its governing statute, presumption of pretrial release (whether stated in the state constitution and/or in the statue), and when pretrial release may be denied (whether stated in the constitution and/or in the statute).

Pretrial Release Eligibility 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

This database of significant sentencing and corrections legislation recently enacted by states can be searched by state, topic, keyword, year, or primary sponsor. Legislative topics include: budget and oversight; community supervision administration; community supervision programs; correctional facility administration; diversion and sentencing alternatives; inmate programs; reentry barriers and access to services; reentry oversight and organization; reentry programs and supervision; release and discharge; sentencing and crime penalties; specialized populations; and treatment-based programs.

State Sentencing and Corrections Legislation Cover

"Today, juvenile justice reform has become a largely bipartisan issue as lawmakers work together to develop new policies to align sound fiscal responsibility, community safety and better outcomes for youth. New legislative reforms reflect an interest in developmentally appropriate approaches to more evidence-based methods and cost-effective alternatives to incar­ceration. There also now exists an abundance of research that is available to lawmakers and the field on adolescent development—that includes the latest neuro[logical], social and behavioral science that distinguishes juveniles from adult offenders. Recent trends in juvenile justice legislation across the country represent a significant new direction to broadly reform justice systems." "Juvenile justice policies require balancing the interests of public safety, accountability and rehabilitation. The challenge for state lawmakers is to develop policies that seek to disrupt the pathways that youth follow into the justice system. In the past five years, juvenile justice reform legislation in the United States has grown at a remarkable pace. The reforms reflect an interest in developmentally appropriate approaches to more evidence-based and cost-effective alternatives to incarceration" (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary include: federal standards; comprehensive omnibus reforms; human trafficking; returning jurisdiction to the juvenile justice system—reforming transfer, waiver and direct file laws, and raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction; prevention, intervention, and detention reform—intervention and realignment, status offenders, and detention reform; due process and defense reform—juvenile competency, indigent defense and other procedural issues, shackling, and solitary confinement; treating mental health needs of juvenile offenders; racial and ethnic disparities; restorative justice; reentry/aftercare—confidentiality of juvenile records and expungement; and conclusion.

› Trends in Juvenile Justice State Legislation 2011-2015 cover

"State laws provide a framework for judges and other local officials to determine who is eligible for [pretrial] release and under what conditions. In recent years, state legislation has concentrated largely on individualizing the pretrial process by focusing on specific defendants or offense categories. From 2012 to 2014, 261 new laws in 47 states addressed pretrial policy" (p. 1). This document provides an overview of these legislative enactments. Sections cover pretrial legislation by: risk assessments; victim-specific procedures; victim-specific conditions; pretrial services; and diversion. A chart shows types of release conditions enacted, with states listed in columns according to financial, substance related, electronic monitoring, victim protection, and other conditions. There is also a circle chart showing the types of diversion programs addressed by states—drug, mental health, veteran, non-population specific, human trafficking, and property crimes.

Trends in Pretrial Cover
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