First Appearance

 

From the States

  • At the direction of the Maine Legislative Council, the Sixth Amendment Center (6AC) evaluated Maine’s indigent defense services and made findings and recommendations.
  • Colorado and South Dakota recently passed resolutions to encourage modification of the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy for jail inmates awaiting trial who have not been convicted.
  • The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices will host a series of public hearings on the issue of pretrial reforms.
  • A five-year study of 10 Michigan counties, funded by the state health department and the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council, found a reduction in jail populations and recidivism when individuals with mental health disorders were diverted into treatment rather than jailed.
  • Changes to court rules on pretrial release ordered by the Missouri Supreme Court go into effect July 1, 2019. Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer told lawmakers in his state of the judiciary speech earlier this year, “we…have a responsibility to ensure those accused of crime are fairly treated according to the law, and not their pocket books….”

The Cache

In the News

  • Last year, Florida passed a first-of-its kind law (SB 1392) that requires justice partners to collect around 140 data points from arrest to release. Learn about the challenges Florida and other states face as they attempt to collect and standardize criminal justice data, and why they forge ahead with their efforts.
  • Joining forces, the governors of Arkansas and North Dakota urge jurisdictions to stop using jails as health care facilities. While acknowledging there will be hurdles, they challenge leaders to work to find innovative solutions—like two Nebraska counties did.
  • Bail reform advocates in Nevada don’t “want to repeat the same mistakes (as California).” Looking to the “bigger picture,” they hope an interim committee on pretrial release will lead to a better outcome.
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced increased inspections of the Cuyahoga County jail. He also plans to ask the legislature to allow the state corrections department to conduct unannounced inspections at local jails and require reporting of all critical incidents in local jails.
  • A bill moving through the California Legislature (SB 144) would eliminate many court fees statewide and discharge billions of dollars in legal financial obligations. Learn about the debate here.
  • The conversation about bail reform is constantly evolving and changing. Learn where the conversation is at, as well as concerns about how it is portrayed.
  • The Vera Institute of Justice and John Jay College of Criminal Justice have created a joint initiative—“Dignity, Racial Justice and Prosecution”—that aims to provide a framework to guide prosecutors in racial equity-centered work.
  • The Stepping Up Initiative recently launched “The Stepping Up Strategy Lab”—an interactive library of programs, policies, and practices jurisdiction have utilized to help reduce the number of people with mental health disorders in jails. 
  • Listen in! Hear a discussion on “humanizing jails and prisons” from the Center for Court Innovation.
  • Watch! In Colorado, the Arapahoe County Sheriff gave a virtual tour of the jail on Facebook Live, highlighting issues of overcrowding and limited access to treatment and programming due to space constraints.

NCSL’s Legislative Summit is Aug. 5-8 in Nashville, Tenn. Check out sessions on a range of criminal justice issues, including a session on navigating criminal justice reform moderated by Van Jones with CNN!

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for the First Appearance, or know someone who would like to be added, email cjnewsletters@ncsl.org.

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.