Webinar: Criminal Case Backlogs: Consequences of the Pandemic

6/1/2021

Many state and local courts suspended jury trials as a public health measure early on in the pandemic. Some states have resumed jury trials with social distancing and mask requirements, but many courts have gone months without resuming trials, resulting in massive backlogs. For example, in New Jersey the backlog for criminal cases in which defendants haven’t been indicted rose 208% between October 2019 and October 2020. These backlogs have wreaked havoc on court systems, left defendants awaiting trial with long jail stays and caused prosecutors to dismiss serious cases. Hear about the issues and consequences of these backlogs and learn what policy shifts jurisdictions are making to reduce their backlogs.

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Moderator:
  • Anne Teigen, program director, NCSL's Criminal Justice Program.
Speakers:
Speakers Bios:

Elaine Nugen-Borakove, president at the Justice Management Institute

Elaine Nugent-Borakove has been president of The Justice Management (JMI) since January 2010. As JMI’s president, she directs and manages several major JMI research, training, and technical assistance projects aimed at producing systemic change. Her work has focused on helping local justice systems design and implement research-based strategies for improving the administration of justice, development of performance measures and system assessments, and organizational workload assessments. Areas of expertise include prosecution, defense, pretrial services, case management, and sentencing.

Prior to joining JMI, she served as director of the Office of Research & Evaluation at the National District Attorneys Association’s American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) for 10 years. Her work at APRI included researching community prosecution initiatives, evaluating the efficicacy of SANE programs in sexual assault cases, developing a quantitative method for objectively assessing prosecutor workload and projecting resources, developing a performance measurement framework for prosecutors’ offices, and assessing prosecutors’ roles and responsibilities in juvenile cases. She has authored numerous publications and reports on criminal and juvenile justice issues justice system for both federal, state, local, and foundation clients, and is co-editor of The Changing Role of the American Prosecutor (SUNY Albany Press, 2008). Elaine has authored numerous book chapters on prosecution and related topics including one published in Visions for Change: Criminal Justice for the 21st Century (Prentice Hall, 2009). Her work has also been published in a number of journals include Victims and Offenders, International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Forensic Journal of Nursing, and the American Journal of Criminal Justice.

Reagan Daly, research director at the Institute for State and Local Governance

Reagan Daly is the research director at the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, where she develops and oversees a broad portfolio of research projects in criminal justice and other public policy areas, and manages the Institute’s growing research department. She has almost 20 years of experience developing and managing criminal justice research in applied settings, including experience in experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation design, implementation assessment, and performance measurement. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as the assistant commissioner for research and planning at the New York City Department of Probation (DOP), where she helped advance data-driven decision-making by providing research and analytic support to departments and units across the agency. During her time at DOP she oversaw the implementation of new risk-needs assessment instruments, including the development of a monitoring and validation plan; and, collaborated on a quasi-experimental evaluation of the agency’s neighborhood-based model of probation supervision, called the Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON), that was funded by the National Institute of Justice. Prior to DOP, Daly was an associate director at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she oversaw, among other projects, a two-year mixed methods research study of parole violations for the New York State Division of Parole and an evaluation of New York City’s first Social Impact Bond Initiative. She received her Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Robin E. Wosje, senior program manager at the Justice Management Institute

Robin Wosje rejoins the JMI team as a senior program manager after completing a two-year sabbatical in Japan. She originally worked for JMI from 2013 to 2015. Wosje brings more than 12 years of experience at The National Judicial College. Holding a variety of positions including chief academic officer and director of grant projects and special initiatives, She was responsible for the development and delivery of continuing legal education, resources, and tools for judicial officers throughout the United States. Reaching thousands of judges in all types and levels of courts, her curriculum portfolio spans from capital case management to mental competency to drug-involved offenders and the science of substance use disorder addiction science to sex offender management and the Prison Rape Elimination Act. She has been sought after as an expert in adult learning and training development across multiple modalities – in-person training, interactive webcasts, asynchronous self-study or faculty-led web courses, often utilizing a blended approach.

During her time with JMI, Wosje leveraged her adult learning skills and broad-based knowledge and experience with multiple legal systems in the US to design and provide tailored technical assistance to jurisdictions. She is currently serving as an advisory board member on a project led by American University’s Justice Programs Office and the National Association for Court Management entitled “Enhancing Caseflow Management to Ensure Effective Assistance of Counsel.” The purpose of the project is to identify best practices for courts on how to ensure that 6th Amendment Right to Counsel is preserved and occurs at the earliest point possible in criminal justice systems across the United States and is used to bolster caseflow management for courts. She has also been serving as a site coordinator to several sites who have been awarded grants through the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to reduce the use of jail safely. In her role she assists her sites in identifying and implementing changes to their criminal justice systems to ensure that that right people are released from jail and the criminal justice system at each decision point is making fair, just, and expeditious decisions. She has provided technical assistance by helping jurisdictions in defining data points across the criminal justice continuum that are helpful to ensure that stakeholders can make informed decisions about those who are involved in it.

She has also been instrumental in assisting JMI’s partners in their use of web-based technology to develop and present interactive webcasts. She led a multi-site case study analyzing how criminal justice systems do and can work collaboratively. She also supported the pretrial system case flow mapping and gap analyses of some key jurisdictions. She worked as part of a team of experts to develop the curricula to support the NACM Core, core competencies for the National Association for Court Management. She has also been a long-time member of the National Association of State Judicial Educators (NASJE). Her commitment to NASJE included serving as its past president and serving as a member of its curriculum committee which committee’s task was to develop curricula to support NASJE’s core competencies. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1997 after receiving her Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn. She also has a bachelor's degree in political science and German from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

This webinar is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge  which is a national initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. There are more than 50 jurisdictions from 32 states developing and implementing a diverse array of strategies to safely reduce jail populations and address racial and ethnic disparities at all points of contact with their local justice systems.

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