First Appearance

 

From the States

  • The New York State Legislature enacted sweeping criminal justice legislation that restricts the use of financial conditions of release for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases.  A summary of the major components can be found here from the Center for Court Innovation.
  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order creating a Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. The bipartisan group will evaluate current state and local jail policies and recommend law, policy, and budget changes to expand jail alternatives, safely reduce jail admissions and length of stay, and improve the efficacy of the state’s justice systems.
  • The New Jersey Judiciary released its 2018 annual report outlining the impact of the state’s criminal justice reform (CJR) policies that went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. “In all, CJR has reduced the unnecessary detention of low-risk defendants, assured community safety, upheld constitutional principles, and preserved the integrity of the criminal justice process,” the report states.

The Cache

In the News

  • Already this year, pretrial reforms have been passed in several states, including Colorado, Mississippi and New York. Other states considering reforms include Hawaii and Oklahoma—both states are looking at nonmonetary bail options.
  • As North Carolina considers pretrial reforms, one county in the state forged ahead on its own. Mecklenburg County began implementing pretrial reforms in 2014 and has seen its jail population drop by 11% in three years. Now it hopes to become a model for statewide reforms.
  • Pointing to the “recent wave of bipartisan criminal justice reforms,” Amy Bach, executive director and president of Measures for Justice, urges jurisdictions to build on these reforms by collecting data and measuring results. “[R]eform is great. But where’s the data to show us whether it’s working?
  • Louisiana lawmakers are moving a bill through the Senate that would prohibit prosecutors from jailing victims of domestic and sexual assault who refuse to testify against their abusers. Opponents of the practice say it traumatizes innocent survivors, while prosecutors argue they won’t be able to convict dangerous offenders without this tool, even though they say it is rarely used.
  • Louisiana’s state insurance commissioner ordered bail bond companies in New Orleans to refund customers who were charged premiums over the statewide limit. The local bail bond companies dispute that the premiums were illegal and have received support in the form of a bill moving through the legislature that would cancel the refunds.
  • Unpaid court fines and traffic tickets have consequences, some more surprising than others, including suspension of driving privileges and voting rights, as well as discontinuance of utility services.  
  • A new report from the Vera Institute examines the effects of pretrial detention on people’s cases and their lives. Learn more about the impetus behind this report’s deep dive in this Q&A.
  • Listen in! County Jails Struggle with a New Role as American’s Prime Centers for Opioid Detox.
  • Watch! Learn about jail population reduction efforts in Pima County, Ariz.
  • ICYMI! Rapper Kodak Black posted bail and hid behind a fan of cash as he walked out of jail.

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Links to external websites and reports are for information purposes only and do not indicate NCSL’s endorsement of the content.
This newsletter was created with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, which seeks to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.