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Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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Bars to Care: A Comparison of County Spending on Mental Health Services vs. Local Jails in 2019

March 4, 2020

On January 1st, New York's new bail reform law went into effect. This law, fought for by communities across the state, was designed to reduce the number of people and families harmed by pretrial incarceration, protect the constitutional right to the presumption of innocence, and address the criminalization of poverty and of Black and brown communities.Before the passage of bail reform, New York's fifty-seven counties outside of New York City spent $705.5 million jailing legally innocent people each year.This system of mass pretrial incarceration coerced plea deals and destabilized individuals who were often in dire needof support, not pretrial punishment. By some estimates as many as 84% of people in New York jails had a substance use disorder or mental illness. National surveys show that 20% of people incarcerated in local jails have a "serious mental illness" like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Without bail reform, New York's local jails would have continued to function as warehouses for people failed by social services and social policy, including people struggling with mental health needs, substance use, and homelessness.Bail reform is already working. Each day, there are 6,000 fewer people incarcerated pretrial in New York's local jails.Thousands of people can thus return to their families and receive the treatment and care they need as they await their date in court. With the state budget deadline fast approaching, this is a critical moment for New York's legislature to protect the new law from regressive changes, and instead commit to shifting resources to the services - education, healthcare, mental healthcare, and housing - that keep communities safe and thriving. To do so, we must re-examine the staggering sums counties have historically spent on jailing compared to community-based resources.

Bail & Pretrial Reform; Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

New Challenges and Promising Practices in Pretrial Release, Diversion, and Community-Based Supervision

March 1, 2020

This report summarizes the second national conference organized under PERF's Sheriffs Initiative, which focuses on challenges faced by sheriffs' departments across the country. Many sheriffs have been telling PERF that criminaljustice reform is becoming a major issue in their communities. Bail bond systems are being scrutinized, and more communities are exploring new approaches to pretrial release, diversion, and community-based supervision. So PERFdecided to convene a meeting on this important topic.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Bail Reform 2020

February 21, 2020

In 2019, New York enacted historic pretrial reforms that will result in a dramatic reduction in pretrial detention populations across the state by eliminating bail and pretrial detention for most misdemeanors and non-violentfelonies. That means, in most cases, a person's liberty will not depend on how much money they have.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Bail's Set What's Next?

January 6, 2020

Money bail continues to divide New York States' criminal legal system into two tiers: one for those who can pay, and one for those who can't. Unfortunately, this means if you can't afford to pay bail, you go to jail.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Bail Reform in New York: The Facts

December 12, 2019

Fact sheet about bail reform in New York, including how the law will affect New Yorkers, as well as the hard data illustrating the personal, economic and systemic impact of money bail and pretrial jailing on individuals, families and communities.

Bail & Pretrial Reform

New York, New York: Highlights of the 2019 Bail Reform Law

July 1, 2019

n April 2019, New York passed legislation on bail reform to update a set of state pretrial laws that had remained largely untouched since 1971. Compared to California's Senate Bill 10, passed in August 2018, or New Jersey's Bail Reformand Speedy Trial Act, enacted in January 2017, New York's new bail law received relatively little media coverage or national press. To many interested in bail and pretrial justice, New York's reform seemed un-newsworthy as it didn't go as far as originally promised to eliminate money bail entirely.Yet the relative lack of fanfare over the passage of New York's new bail law belies its historic and transformative potential to end mass incarceration at the local level. If implemented effectively, a conservative estimate of the  legislation's impact suggests that New York can expect at least a 40 percent reduction overall in the state'spretrial jail population.1 That bests the 30.4 percent reduction achieved by bail reform in New Jersey, and the anticipated impact of Senate Bill 10 in California— which is currently on hold pending a challenge by the bail bond industry—if it goes into effect in 2020.What exactly comprises New York's new bail law? What inspired this set of reforms? Can bail reform truly claim to be bold if money isn't eliminated entirely? And what precedent might New York's model of bail reform set for other jurisdictions?This primer provides historical context and an overview of the legislation itself, highlights five unique aspects of the legislation, and offers a few thoughts for how the wins in New York can inspire more comprehensive and transformative bail reform elsewhere. 

Bail & Pretrial Reform

Until Freedom Comes: A Comprehensive Bailout Toolkit

February 14, 2018

The National Bail Out Collective, a formation of Black organizers committed to building a community-based movement to end pretrial detention, created this toolkit as a resource for other groups interested in using bail outs as a tactic. The collective, which consists of groups in over a dozen states, has bailed out over 200 people since we launched in May 2017 with our Black Mama's Bail Outs.This toolkit provides an overview of the bailout process; answers to frequently asked questions about bail and bail reform; a step by step guide on how to develop a bail out and supportive services plan; communications and fundraising tips; reflections on what happens after you post bail; and resources for those interested in leveraging their bail outs to advocate for the end of money bail. The toolkit can be used as a guide as groups embark on the considerable planning and feasibility work necessary to conduct a bail out in their city.We work in Black communities, often focusing on Black women (cis and trans), because although our communities are disproportionately impacted we are often excluded from conversations about the solutions. As a result the language throughout this toolkit is centered on Black liberation. This is because we believe Black liberation is a prerequisite to the liberation of all people. We recognize that many people who will use this toolkit will not be Black and may decide to expand their bail outs beyond Black communities. We excitedly invite people from every community to learn from our work and disrupt this system that harms us all. We encourage you to tailor the language where necessary.Our bail outs are a key component of our broader strategy to build the power of local organizations so they can end the use of money bail and start to experiment with community based support systems, which will replace cages. Similarly, we hope that you will approach your bail outs as a tactic, rather than the goal, and will leverage them to end money bail and the underlying systems that keep so many in cages. We hope that this toolkit will serve as a useful guide as you begin your bail out journey.

Bail & Pretrial Reform; Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

Transformative Bail: A Popular Education Curriculum

March 1, 2017

This curriculum is the product of a convening of over 20 black-led base-building organizations who came together to discuss the implications of bail and bail reform on black communities across the country.A subset of convening participants formed a working group that developed this curriculum. We understandending bail as a limited, but necessary step, towards ending the mass criminalization and incarceration ofour communities. Together we seek to ensure that communities most impacted by oppressive policing andincarceration are centered as experts in formulating alternatives to pretrial detention and incarceration.

Bail & Pretrial Reform; Defunding, Abolition, & Alternatives to Policing

Rational and Transparent Bail Decision Making: Moving from a Cash-Based to a Risk-Based Process

March 1, 2012

Between 1990 and 2008, the jail population in the United States doubled from 400,000 inmates to 800,000. During much of this period, crime rates were steadily dropping, falling to levels not seen in decades. The number of defendants held in jail awaiting disposition of their charges drove much of the increase in the jail population. Up until 1996, jail populations were comprised evenly of about 50 percent sentenced and 50 percent pretrial inmates. Beginning in 1996, the number of pretrial inmates grew at a much faster pace than the sentenced inmates. Currently, 61 percent of inmates in local jails have not been convicted, compared to 39 percent who are serving sentences. This shift has resulted in a dramatic change in how jails are being used.This White Paper takes the position that most of the money spent to house defendants who cannot post a bond is unnecessary to achieve the purposes of bond – to protect the safety of the community while the defendant's case is pending, and to assure the appearance of the defendant in court. With local jurisdictions laying o" teachers, police o#cers and !re!ghters and cutting back on vital services because they do not have the money to pay them, this waste of money is unconscionable. 

Bail & Pretrial Reform