First Appearance


From the States

  • NCSL’s podcast, “Our American States,” dives into the issues of policing, communication between communities and law enforcement, and the need for criminal justice reform. Listen here.
  • Pennsylvania launched a "first-of-its-kind” resource center—the Stepping Up Technical Assistance Center—to assist the states’ counties reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in their jails.
  • Catherine Pugh, Baltimore Mayor and former Maryland Senate majority leader, emphasized the crucial role state and local partnerships play in front-end justice reforms. Pugh spoke to local criminal justice stakeholders participating in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge—which just announced $22 million in new grants to assist jurisdictions reduce jail over-incarceration.

The Cache

In the News

  • $22 million in new funding from the Safety and Justice Challenge will support 12 new jurisdictions and 13 existing sites reduce jail over-incarceration by using “forward-looking, smart solutions.” Find the list of grant recipients here.
  • Learn about bail reform efforts taking place nationwide in this panel discussion from the Atlantic Festival Race + Justice Summit. Judge Truman Morrison (D.C. Superior Court), Insha Rahman (Vera Institute), and California Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D) (a lead author of SB10) discuss bail reform challenges and successes in their jurisdictions. 
  • The Bail Project is taking a different approach to bail reform. Listen to CEO Robin Steinberg discuss her strategy on TED Radio.
  • One area that remains a hot-button issue in bail reform is risk assessments. Are they objective or inherently biased? Take a deep dive into risk assessments in this podcast from the Center for Court Innovation.
  • In this op-ed piece, New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell and City Council President Jason Williams discuss bail reform efforts and pretrial risk assessments in their city. Local bail bondsmen believe such efforts are misguided. So does the executive director of United Bail of America, who argues money bail is essential to criminal justice.
  • The Philadelphia Courts announced it has ended its policy of retaining 30 percent of all posted bail—a non-refundable fee that funded administration of the bail system. The new policy provides a full refund of posted bail for a person who makes all court-ordered appearances.
  • Rather than issuing arrest warrants, judges in Mecklenburg County, N.C., are issuing criminal summons for more offenses, including felonies. The chief judge supports the change, but some feel the policy goes too far.
  • Harris County, Texas, makes the news again regarding pretrial detainees. This summer, a woman detained on shoplifting charges committed suicide in the jail. The county has now instituted a suicide hotline for jail inmates.
  • Citing the deaths of six jail inmates in four months, Judge Michael L. Nelson, Sr. (Cleveland, Ohio) is refusing to detain persons accused of low-level offenses in the county jail. “You shouldn’t die before we see you in court.”
  • Pima County, Ariz., will use a $1.4 million grant to enhance its efforts tackling the opioid crisis. The newly funded “United Medication Assisted Treatment Targeted Engagement Response” (or U-MATTER) project will pair drug counselors with law enforcement officers and offer case management to persons receiving medication-assisted treatment.
  • Snohomish County, Wash., is approaching the opioid epidemic as a natural disaster, taking its strategy “straight out of FEMA’s emergency response playbook.” Local agencies are working together and breaking down problems into manageable steps, from officer response teams to needle cleanup to schoolteacher training.
  • Who gets credit for the decrease in violent crimes last year? The data at issue comes from the FBI’s annual Crime in the U.S. report. Regardless of credit, understanding this data helps inform policymakers as they wade through criminal justice reforms and make decisions.
  • The data shows Americans are safer now than in the past 30 years. But that’s not necessarily how the public sees it

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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.