At any given time, our nation’s jails hold around 465,000 people that are still legally presumed innocent. Detained while awaiting their day in court, the majority of this “pretrial population” of non-convicted inmates is behind bars due to an inability to pay a money bail. While detention is supposed to reflect flight risk or dangerousness, for many it’s a question of poverty.
Although jails are locally run, the critical need to address pretrial jail populations has garnered it bipartisan interest and attention at the federal level. Legislation such as the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act by Sen. Harris and Sen. Paul, and the No Money Bail Act of 2017 by Rep. Lieu, has sought to leverage federal appropriations to incentivize bail reform in the states.
As Congress and state houses across the country assess how to rein in bail, the public discussion of bail and pretrial reforms must address several questions: 1) What are the costs of a pretrial jail stay? 2) How can the federal and state governments work toward bail reform and what can local jurisdictions do to mitigate the problem in the interim? 3) How do we ensure bail replacements like pretrial risk assessments actually achieve their intended goals?
Please join R Street for a panel on October 4th at 12pm in Rayburn 2045 to discuss this important topic in criminal justice policy.
Lunch will be served.
- Kelley Vlahos, Executive Editor, The American Conservative (Moderator)
- Lars Trautman, Senior Fellow, R Street Institute
- Ed Chung, Vice President, Criminal Justice Reform, Center for American Progress
- John-Michael Seibler, Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation
- Sakira Cook, Senior Counsel and Criminal Justice Program Director, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights