Pretrial Justice Institute
The Pretrial Justice Institute is a national organization working for safe, fair and effective pretrial justice by promoting reforms in arrest, bail, and diversion decision-making. We support the use of data-driven, evidence-informed practices and policies across the juvenile and adult pretrial justice system in order to eliminate outcomes that are in influenced by race, gender, social class or economic status. Moreover, we support juvenile and adult pretrial detention only in cases where due process has determined that no conditions exist that would reasonably assure appearance at court and community safety.
PJI has spent 40 years working directly with local jurisdictions and practitioners in the justice system. Over the past six years, PJI has expanded its approach to include state based advocacy resulting in successfully fighting legislation in nearly 20 states that would endanger public safety and erode constitutional rights. At the same time, the economy has provided motivation to counties and states needing to decrease correctional spending.
On any given day, nearly half a million people sit in jail, primarily because they lack even the minimal funds needed for release. They remain incarcerated at the public’s expense at a cost of over $9 billion a year. To make matters worse, PJI reports show that these individuals receive much harsher sentences than if they would have been released under an evidence-based pretrial system.
Nearly 85% of jurisdictions do not have evidence- based pretrial practices which results in the mass incarceration of those too poor to purchase their release. There is a lot of work to be done.
PJI is dedicated to changing the way communities deal with crime and people at the front-end of the criminal justice system. Our staff are nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field, and publish more on pretrial justice than any other organization in the world.
Pretrial justice reform has profound implications beyond the bail decision. Law enforcement policies encouraging the use of summons/ citations in lieu of arrest, appointment of counsel at first appearance and screening of arrest charges prior to initial appearance are all crucial elements of a fair, safe and effective justice system but unfortunately each remain the exception rather than the norm in our courtrooms.
PJI does its work through the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns, strategic advocacy for policy reform, and training in best practices.