Pretrial detention and cash bail are major contributors to mass incarceration and racial disparities in the justice system. For people who are held in jail before trial, even a short stay can mean lost income or employment and family disruption, which may in turn affect their ability to pay for necessities like food and housing. These negative impacts fall disproportionately on lower-income families and communities as well as people of color.
Reforming pretrial justice means movement toward a system that treats people fairly and equitably. NCCD’s work in pretrial justice focuses on guidance for agencies regarding pretrial risk assessment and community-based pretrial supervision and services. We strongly believe that these conversations need to begin with values. We collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that any move into using pretrial assessments balances public safety and civil rights and incorporates discussions of racial equity; decision making and transparency; and assessment validation. These considerations must extend to the development and implementation of pretrial supervision and services.