Bail Reform

Audio

The End of Rikers? A conversation with Courtney Bryan about the Lippman Commission and its recommendation to close the Rikers Island jail facility

The End of Rikers? A conversation with Courtney Bryan about the Lippman Commission and its recommendation to close the Rikers Island jail facility

Rikers Island is “a stain on our great city” and should be closed. That’s the headline-grabbing conclusion of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. With influential leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, in agreement, the next question is: Where do we go from here? Matthew Watkins speaks to the Center for Court Innovation's Courtney Bryan to learn more about the Center's role in researching and producing the commission's report, and the steps needed to carry out its recommendations. We also hear a range of activists and reformers react to the pledge to close the troubled jail facility.

Publications

Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies

Demystifying Risk Assessment: Key Principles and Controversies

By Sarah Picard-Fritsche, Michael Rempel, Jennifer A. Tallon, Julian Adler and Natalie Reyes

This paper explains the science underlying risk-based decision-making and explores both the promise and controversies associated with the increasing application of “big data” to the field of criminal justice. While the technology has contributed to important policy reforms, such as the diversion of low-risk groups from jail and prison, debate has arisen over the potential for risk assessments to reproduce existing racial biases, the lack of transparency of some proprietary tools, and the challenge of applying classifications based on group behavior to individual cases. Along with identifying an emerging professional consensus that the careful and ethical implementation of risk assessment tools can improve outcomes, the paper closes with a series of best practices urging jurisdictions adopt a localized, collaborative approach.

Publications

Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

This report lays out a series of reforms to significantly reduce New York City's jail population, a move that would also cut costs substantially. To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path of criminal cases from arrest through bail decisions to sentencing. Among the report’s findings:

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To hear a podcast with the report's lead author

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Publications

FACT SHEET: Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

FACT SHEET: Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform

To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path from arrest through bail to sentencing. The research also examined how much taxpayers spend on incarceration.

Download Full Report

To hear a podcast with the report's lead author

Audio

Reducing New York City's Jail Population

Reducing New York City's Jail Population

New York City's incarceration rates have been dropping steadily, but a new report from the Center for Court Innovation, in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice, suggests the city’s jail population can still be brought significantly lower. The report looks in detail at key decision-points along the path from arrest through bail to sentencing and makes concrete suggestions for how to improve the system, especially for those defendants detained awaiting trial. In this New Thinking podcast, Matthew Watkins speaks with Michael Rempel, the report's lead author and the Center's research director.

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Download Summary of Report

Video

Connecticut Governor Malloy Addresses Justice Summit

Connecticut Governor Malloy Addresses Justice Summit

Dannel P. Malloy, the governor of Connecticut, was the keynote speaker at Justice Innovations in Times of Change, a summit sponsored by the Center for Court Innovation and the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance in September 2016. The governor spoke about reforms under way in his state that have raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18, reduced the use of incarceration, and lowered crime to levels not seen since the 1960s.

Publications

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

Navigating the Bail Payment System in New York City: Findings and Recommendations

By Elise White, Melissa Labriola, Ashmini G. Kerodal, Elise Jensen and Michael Rempel

This report documents the bail payment process in New York City courts and correctional facilities and provide 17 recommendations to improve practices. Based on these recommendations, the city is working to launch the first-ever online bail payment system in partnership with the state courts and has begun implementing a number of other solutions detailed here. Approximately 16,000 individuals per year are bailed out of Department of Correction facilities in New York City, in most cases requiring family or friends to make the sometimes lengthy and costly journey to city jails. Continuing to simplify the bail payment process could greatly reduce the number of short jail stays resulting solely from the difficulty of paying bail at arraignment. This report received funding from the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

Interviews

The Potential for Bias in Risk-Assessment Tools: A Conversation

The Potential for Bias in Risk-Assessment Tools: A Conversation

In this New Thinking podcast, Reuben J. Miller, assistant professor of social work at the University of Michigan, and his research collaborator Hazelette Crosby-Robinson discuss some of the criticisms that have been leveled against risk assessment tools. Those criticisms include placing too much emphasis on geography and criminal history, which can distort the actual risk for clients from neighborhoods that experience an above-average presence of policing and social services. "Geography is often a proxy for race," Miller says. Miller and Crosby-Robinson spoke with the Center for Court Innovation's Director of Communications Robert V. Wolf after they participated in a panel on the "The Risk-Needs-Responsivity Framework"  at Justice Innovation in Times of Change, a regional summit on Sept. 30, 2016 in North Haven, Conn.

Publications

Reducing Jail and Protecting Victims: A Roundtable on Pretrial Supervised Release

Reducing Jail and Protecting Victims: A Roundtable on Pretrial Supervised Release

By Julian Adler and Katie Crank

In January 2016, jail reduction and victim advocates discussed strategies for including the voices of survivors of crime in implementing pretrial supervised release programs. This document highlights the far-reaching and complicated discussion. The facilitated roundtable was convened by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Court Innovation as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative to reduce mass incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Audio

A Second Chance Society: A Conversation about Justice Reform in Connecticut

A Second Chance Society: A Conversation about Justice Reform in Connecticut

Mike Lawlor, Connecticut's under secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, discusses Governor Dannel P. Malloy's Second Chance Society, a series of justice reforms (including dramatic changes to bail and juvenile justice policies) that seek to reduce crime, lower spending on prisons, and help rebuild relationships between criminal justice professionals and the communities they serve. This New Thinking podcast was recorded in Chicago in April 2016 after Lawlor participated in a panel on "Jail Reduction and Public Safety" at Community Justice 2016.

Video

Reducing Crime and Incarceration: Elizabeth Glazer at the Center for Court Innovation

Reducing Crime and Incarceration: Elizabeth Glazer at the Center for Court Innovation

Elizabeth Glazer, director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, spoke about strategies for safely reducing the population of Rikers Island during a visit to the Center for Court Innovation in May 2016.

Publications

An Experiment in Bail Reform: Examining the Impact of the Brooklyn Supervised Release Program

An Experiment in Bail Reform: Examining the Impact of the Brooklyn Supervised Release Program

By Josephine W. Hahn

This report presents findings from a study examining the impact of the Brooklyn Supervised Release Program, which engages misdemeanants who cannot afford relatively low bail amounts. When compared to a matched sample arraigned in the year before program launch, Supervised Release participants arraigned between November 2013 and September 2014 were significantly more likely to be released, spent fewer days in detention, and were less likely to receive a criminal conviction or jail sentence. Qualitative findings showed that participants held positive views of the Supervised Release staff and program model.

Download update on re-arrest rates through 2016

Audio

Innovations in Pretrial Justice: The View from Denver

Innovations in Pretrial Justice: The View from Denver

At Reinvesting in Justice, Aubree Cote, smart pretrial site coordinator for Denver, talks about the city's reform efforts and what different states and jurisdictions can learn from each other regarding pretrial justice.

Video

The Short Answer: How Does the Supervised Release Program at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives Fit Into the Court System's Bail Reform Efforts?

The Short Answer: How Does the Supervised Release Program at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives Fit Into the Court System's Bail Reform Efforts?

New York State Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks responds to the question: How does the supervised release program at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives fit into the court system's bail reform efforts?

Audio

Working With Unlikely Allies: A Conversation With Marc Levin

Working With Unlikely Allies: A Conversation With Marc Levin

At Reinvesting in JusticeMarc Levin, policy director of the Texas-based conservative group Right on Crime, talks about the need to work towards criminal justice reform with stakeholders from across the ideological spectrum, both in Texas and nationwide. 

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