On any given day, an estimated half million people are detained across the U.S. because of an inability to post bail. The costs of pre-trial detention are enormous, both in terms of taxpayer money and the impact it has on the lives of detainees, their families, and their neighborhoods.
In New York City, bail is set for approximately 55,000 defendants each year, over half of whom are charged with low-level offenses such as misdemeanors and violations. Although the bail amount is no higher than $1,000 in the vast majority of non-felony cases, most defendants are unable to post that amount and are thereby subject to pre-trial detention – a reality that has been decried by advocacy groups, newspapers, and public officials across the political spectrum.
The Center for Court Innovation works to promote bail reform in a number of ways, including through Brooklyn Justice Initiatives’ supervised release program.
The Center for Court Innovation is a technical assistance provider to the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, an initiative that seeks to reduce the use of local jail and create fairer, more effective local justice systems. Reducing pre-trial detention is a key strategy being tested by many of the cities participating in the challenge.
Brooklyn Justice Initiatives seeks to forge a new response to non-violent defendants in Kings County, New York. Operating out of Kings County Criminal Court, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives provides pre-trial supervised release and post-conviction sentencing options to defendants in misdemeanor cases. An overview of its efforts can be found here.
In The News
The New York Times Magazine examines the economic and social costs of detaining indigent defendants who cannot afford bail and the national effort to reform the practice.
The Christian Science Monitor writes about the push for bail reform across the U.S. and interviews Center for Court Innovation Director of Research-Practice Strategies Julian Adler.
WNYC reports on Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s call for bail reform and highlights the Red Hook Community Justice Center.
A Talk Poverty op-ed explores the role of bail reform in addressing poverty and reducing mass incarceration.
WNYC reports on a plan to reform New York City's bail system and highlights Brooklyn Justice Initiatives' supervised release program.
The New York Law Journal outlines New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to reduce the reliance on pre-trial detention and cash bail in low-level cases, highlighting Brooklyn Justice Initiatives.