NCSL Pretrial Release Quarterly Newsletter


from the states

In the first half of this year, 34 states have enacted 78 laws addressing pretrial policy. States have continued to focus on individualizing the pretrial process by enacting laws to meet the needs of specific defendants including those that have been charged with domestic violence, sex offenses, stalking and drug offenses.

Policies also have focused on defendants who have been identified as veterans and members of the military, defendants with mental health problems and defendants with substance use disorders. For more information on 2015 enactments check out NCSL’s Pretrial Enactment Database

This session the Georgia legislature passed HB 310 creating the Department of Community Supervision (DCS) and gave the department authorization to establish and operate pretrial release and diversion programs for felony defendants who are eligible for release.

Courts now receive release recommendations from DCS and are able to release eligible defendants on recognizance to participate in a pretrial release and diversion programs supervised by the department.

the cache

in the news

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces initiative that is projected to triple the number of defendants who are eligible to be supervised in the community in lieu of paying bail or awaiting trial in jail. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is now tracking and posting data on how many pretrial detainees are being held.
  • Equal Justice Under Law has been pursuing class action litigation in seven cities in five states to end the use of money bail. The U.S. Department of Justice has put its weight behind the efforts of Equal Justice Under Law by filing a statement of interest in the case against the City of Clanton, Ala. Read about the success of the litigation.
  • San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has a vision for prosecutors that includes using data-driven practices and risk assessments to improve public safety and reduce incarceration.
  • At a Philadelphia jail Pope Francis spoke of hope and rehabilitation to an audience that included many defendants not yet convicted of a crime.
  • Right on Crime’s Policy Director Marc Levin offers his perspective on bringing balance to pretrial proceedings. 


This newsletter is prepared under a partnership project of NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program and the Public Welfare Foundation. Links to external websites and reports are for information purposes only and do not indicate NCSL’s endorsement of the content.