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Pretrial Practice:
Building a National Research
Agenda for the Front End of the
Criminal Justice System

A Report on the Roundtable to Develop a National
Pretrial Research Agenda
October 26-27, 2015

Pretrial Practice:
Building a National Research
Agenda for the Front End of the
Criminal Justice System

A Report on the Roundtable to Develop a National
Pretrial Research Agenda
October 26-27, 2015
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
New York City

Acknowledgments
The Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College wishes to thank the Laura and John
Arnold Foundation (LJAF) for the opportunity to partner with them in convening a
series of roundtables on pretrial practice. This is the report on the second roundtable
which was focused on Building a National Agenda for the Front End of the Criminal
Justice System. The roundtables were inspired by conversations between Anne
Milgram, LJAF Vice President of Criminal Justice, and Jeremy Travis, President of John
Jay College and were framed to elevate the national conversation on pretrial practice.
PRI particularly appreciates our close working relationship with Virginia Bersch, Deputy
Director of National Implementation, Criminal Justice, and the support of Matt Alsdorf,
LJAF Director of Criminal Justice.
We were honored by the generous and thoughtful participation of all the Roundtable
invitees, and want to give special thanks to the seven academics who prepared
presentations to stimulate conversation at the Roundtable. We also want to thank the
professionals who joined us as observers and the eleven organizations and individuals
who took the time to contribute their perspective to identify pretrial research
priorities.
Carol Petrie, former Director of the Committee on Law & Justice at the National
Academy of Sciences, provided invaluable consultation in the development of the
roundtable agenda, the selection of potential discussants, and the synthesis of
research questions that emerged from the conversation.
We are especially grateful to have benefitted again from the significant talent of
Cynthia Reed, who is responsible for writing this report. This publication was designed
by Damian Vallegonga from Echo.
Special thanks are due to PRI staff members Aimee Baker, Danielle Petrilli and
Daonese Johnson-Colon for their work on the production of the Roundtable, the
associated logistics, the production and dissemination of this report. Thanks also
to the many John Jay staff members in audio-visual services, facilities management,
security and catering who helped make this event possible.
Ann Jacobs, Director
Prisoner Reentry Institute

Table of Contents
About The Laura and John Arnold Foundation......................................................................................................................................ii
About The John Jay College of Criminal Justice & The Prisoner Reentry Institute....................................................................iii
Roundtable Discussants...............................................................................................................................................................................iv
Presentations.....................................................................................................................................................................................................v
Executive Summary......................................................................................................................................................................................... 1
Part I | Setting the Context: The Pretrial Landscape In America.................................................................................................... 4
Part II | A Step-by-Step Review of the Pretrial Process.................................................................................................................. 10
A. Arrest and Initial Citizen-Police Interactions................................................................................................................ 10
B. Charging and Prosecutorial Discretion............................................................................................................................12
C. Pretrial Release Decisions.....................................................................................................................................................14
D. Case Processing....................................................................................................................................................................... 16
E. Case Dispositions..................................................................................................................................................................... 20
Part III | Behavioral Economics as a Lens for Examining Pretrial Behavior............................................................................. 23
Part IV | Building a National Research Agenda: Recommendations from the Field............................................................. 26
A. Presentations from Stakeholder Organizations........................................................................................................... 26
Pretrial Justice Institute......................................................................................................................................................... 26
The Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.................................................................27
Vera Institute of Justice.......................................................................................................................................................... 28
American Bail Coalition.........................................................................................................................................................30
B. Submissions from the Field...................................................................................................................................................31
Council of State Governments Justice Center..................................................................................................................31
Justice Research and Statistics Association.................................................................................................................. 32
National Center for Victims of Crime................................................................................................................................ 33
The National Judicial College............................................................................................................................................... 34
NCJA Center for Justice Planning......................................................................................................................................... 34
Professor Shima Baradaran Baughman, College of Law, University of Utah..................................................... 36
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition......................................................................................................................................... 36
Part V | A Call to Action: A Proposed National Research Agenda.................................................................................................37
Appendix A | Participants’ Biographies..................................................................................................................................................41
Appendix B | A Summary of Research Questions Raised by Roundtable Participants........................................................ 49

About The Laura and
John Arnold Foundation
Laura and John Arnold established the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in 2008. LJAF believes
philanthropy should be transformational and should seek through innovation to solve persistent
problems in society. Our core objective is to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent
challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches. We strive to create functional
solutions that target the root causes, not just the symptoms, of these problems. The solutions
must be both scalable nationally and sustainable without permanent philanthropy.
Our strategy is to systematically examine areas of society in which underperformance,
inefficiency, concentrated power, lack of information, lack of accountability, lack of transparency,
lack of balance among interests, or other barriers to human progress and achievement exist. We
then apply a rigorous and comprehensive entrepreneurial problem-solving approach to these
areas, considering all possible strategies, tactics, and resource allocations to effect solutions.
Our approach is not limited to what has been tried, or even what has been proposed, in the
past. Instead, we seek to incentivize bold, creative thinking and effort, with the goal of igniting a
renaissance of new ideas and approaches applied to persistent problems.
LJAF’s Criminal Justice initiative aims to reduce crime, increase public safety, and ensure the
criminal justice system operates as fairly and cost-effectively as possible. In order to achieve
these goals, we develop, incubate, and spread innovative solutions to criminal justice challenges.
We assemble teams of experts from both inside and outside the criminal justice field to conduct
research projects, create tools for practitioners, and partner with local jurisdictions to pilot and
test new policies and practices. Our projects use data and technology to drive innovation and
accelerate the adoption of proven reforms.

Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Laura & John Arnold, Co-Chairs
Dennis Calabrese, President
Anne Milgram, J.D., Vice President of Criminal Justice
Matt Alsdorf, Director of Criminal Justice

ii

Houston | New York City | Washington, D.C.
ARNOLDFOUNDATION.ORG

About John Jay College Of Criminal Justice
& The Prisoner Reentry Institute
John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York is an international
leader in educating for justice, offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to
upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching,
scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service
to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness,
equality and the rule of law.
John Jay is a community of motivated and intellectually committed individuals who explore
justice in its many dimensions. The College’s liberal arts curriculum equips students to pursue
advanced study and meaningful, rewarding careers in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Its professional programs introduce students to foundational and newly emerging fields and
prepare them for advancement within their chosen professions.
The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) is one of twelve institutes that collectively comprise
the Research Consortium of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The mission of PRI is to spur
innovation and improve practice in the field of reentry by advancing knowledge, translating
research into effective policy and service delivery, and fostering effective partnerships between
criminal justice and non-criminal justice disciplines. PRI works towards this mission by focusing
its efforts on the following types of projects and activities:
• Developing, Managing, and Evaluating Innovative Reentry Projects
• Providing Practitioners and Policymakers with Cutting Edge Tools and Expertise
• Promoting Educational Opportunities for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals as a
Vehicle for Successful Reentry and Reintegration
• Identifying “Pulse Points” and Creating Synergy Across Fields and Disciplines

John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prisoner Reentry Institute
Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Ann Jacobs, Director, Prisoner Reentry Institute
New York City
JJAY.CUNY.EDU
JOHNJAYPRI.ORG

iii

Roundtable Participants
Rachel Barkow
Segal Professor of Regulatory
Law & Policy New York University
School of Law
New York, New York

Dr. James P. Lynch, Professor
Chair, Dept. of Criminology &
Criminal Justice
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland

Dr. Carla Shedd
Assistant Professor
of Sociology & African-American Studies
Columbia University
New York, New York

Dr. Saurabh Bhargava
Assistant Professor of Economics
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Barry Mahoney
President Emeritus
The Justice Management Institute
Denver, Colorado

Dr. Faye S. Taxman, Professor
Criminology, Law & Society Department
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia

Barbara Broderick
Chief Probation Officer
Maricopa County Adult
Probation Dept.
Phoenix, Arizona

Anne Milgram, Esq.
Vice President of Criminal Justice
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Former New Jersey Attorney General
New York, New York

Chief John Scott Thomson
Chief of Police
Camden County Police Department
Camden, New Jersey

John T. Chisholm, J.D.
District Attorney
Milwaukee County
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Jennifer M. Perez
Director of Trial Court Services
New Jersey Judiciary
Trenton, New Jersey

Elyse Clawson
Principal & Founder
Justice System Partners
Portland, Oregon

Janice Radovick-Dean, Director
Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania’s
Pretrial Services Department
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Dr. Mona Danner
Professor of Sociology and
Criminal Justice	
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia

Jeremy Travis, President
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
at the City University of New York
New York, New York
Dr. Marie VanNostrand
Justice Project Manager
Luminosity: Data Driven Justice Solutions
St. Petersburg, Florida
The Honorable Roger K. Warren
President Emeritus
National Center for State Courts
Williamsburg, Virginia
Dr. Robert E. Worden
Director, John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
University at Albany, State Univ. of New York
Albany, New York

Leah Garabedian, Esq.
Defender Counsel
National Legal Aid & Defender Assoc.
Washington, D.C.

Roundtable on Pretrial Practice Staff
John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prisoner Reentry Institute:
Ann Jacobs
Director

Carol V. Petrie
Consultant, Former Director of Committee on
Law & Justice at National Academy of Sciences

Laura and John Arnold Foundation:
Virginia Bersch
Deputy Director of National
Implementation, Criminal Justice
iv

Matt Alsdorf
Director of Criminal Justice

Danielle Petrilli
Administrative Associate

Presentations
The following academics made presentations at the Roundtable to
stimulate and guide discussion at various points in the agenda:
1. Dr. James Lynch, Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University
of Maryland, “Developing a National Pretrial Research Agenda: Setting the Context.”
2. Dr. Robert Worden, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany,
State University of New York, “Police Decision-Making at the Point of Arrest: What
We Know, What We Don’t Know.”
3. Rachel Barkow, J.D., Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy, New
York University School of Law, “Charging Decisions.”
4. Dr. Marie VanNostrand, Justice Project Manager, Luminosity, “Pretrial Release
Decisions.”
5. Dr. Barry Mahoney, President Emeritus, The Justice Management Institute,
“Pretrial Case Processing: Thoughts about Contemporary Practices and about
Research Needs and Opportunities.”
6. Dr. Faye Taxman, Director, Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence, George
Mason University, “Dispositions.”
7. Dr. Saurabh Bhargava, Assistant Professor of Economics, Carnegie Mellon
University, “Behavioral Economics (and Psychology) as a Lens for Examining Pretrial
Behavior.”

Contributing Presenters:
• Dr. Michael Jones, Director of Implementation, Pretrial Justice Institute
• Marc Levin, Esq., Director, Center for Effective Justice & Right on Crime, Texas
Public Policy Foundation
• Jim Parsons, MSc, Vice President and Research Director, Vera Institute of Justice
• Nicholas Wachinski, Esq., Executive Director Emeritus, American Bail Coalition

v

Report On The Roundtable To Develop A
National Pretrial Research Agenda

Executive Summary

“There’s no question in my mind that the greatest
opportunity we have is before people are deep into the
system and having done years in jails and prisons.”
Anne Milgram, Vice President of Criminal Justice
Laura and John Arnold Foundation

“We need better data, a better definition of the data
we capture, and we need the data to be available for
research and to the people who make decisions.”
Jeremy Travis, President
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

From October 26-27, 2015, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Laura and John Arnold
Foundation (LJAF), held a Roundtable to Develop a National Pretrial Research Agenda as a
follow-up to its earlier Roundtable in March 2015, which focused on pretrial practice and ways
of rethinking the front end of the criminal justice system. “The national conversation on criminal
justice is open to reform like never before,” President Jeremy Travis of the John Jay College of
Criminal Justice stated. “There’s an urgency. It feels like we’re in the process of important policy
discovery.”
At that initial Roundtable, participants were, in the words of Anne Milgram, Vice President of
Criminal Justice for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, “stunned by the lack of information
in the space. All we could talk about was the need for research.” This report details the results
of the follow-up to that conversation – a Roundtable devoted solely to the development of a
national research agenda to move reform forward on the front end of the criminal justice system.

1

Goals
The goals of the Roundtable were several – a what, who, and how of pretrial research and reform:
Determine what core questions need to be answered in the pretrial phase;
Ascertain who can undertake such studies; and
Once that work comes to fruition, establish how to implement those results, so that
practices, policies, and outcomes can be improved.
Milgram phrased the inquiry as follows: “What are the things we want to solve? What are the
things we don’t know that would really change the way we run the front end of the criminal justice
system?” Our ultimate goal, Travis stated, “is to define a research agenda for the next decade.”
Travis emphasized that the research agenda must be conscious of three things: data and data
analytics, evidence-based best practices, and a normative framework. This latter consideration
echoed a theme from the first Roundtable about the importance of ensuring that policies and
practices in the pretrial phase are guided by value propositions and a human dignity context.
These include considerations of procedural justice and legitimacy, proportionality, parsimony,
citizenship, and social justice. “Our research should be guided by the question of how state power
is applied vis à vis individuals who are thought to be engaged in antisocial behavior,” Travis stated
in his introduction. He also encouraged participants to define the front end of the system very
broadly, to include how citizens and police first encounter each other.
The identification of research priorities will contribute valuable insight into thinking in the field
for both LJAF and others concerned about front end reform. In Milgram’s view, “This work will set
us up to dramatically change the criminal justice system in America.”

Participants
In order to construct a robust national agenda, the Roundtable included the voices of those
with backgrounds in academics, policy, advocacy, and practice. Participants spanned the fields
of law, economics, sociology, criminal justice, political science, criminology, statistics, and
African American studies. In the room were practitioners from all stages of the process – law
enforcement, prosecution, defense, probation, bail, pretrial and court services, and the judiciary.
Detailed biographies of the participants can be found in Appendix A.
This report is organized as follows:

Part I
Setting the Context: The Pretrial Landscape in America establishes the framework for a larger
conversation about building a research agenda. Using statistics, participants looked at big picture
trends in pretrial, showing changes in arrests, pretrial detention, and forms of release over time.
These trends raised questions that provided a basis for discussion: What do we know about the
pretrial landscape? What are the problems in pretrial? How has pretrial changed over time? Why
are these macro-changes taking place? Why are some aspects of pretrial studied more than
others? How can we build data infrastructures to assist future researchers?

Part II
A Step-by-Step Review of the Pretrial Process frames the dialogue about research goals in terms
of the stages of the front end of the criminal justice system. With experts in each phase introducing
the discussions, the Roundtable considered decision points all along this process to assess the
nature of existing research into what does and doesn’t work, and the gaps in our knowledge. The
Roundtable focused on five stages, always with an eye to how each stage interconnects with and
impacts upon the others: arrest and initial police-citizen interactions, charging and prosecutorial
discretion, pretrial release decisions, case processing, and case dispositions.
2

Part III
Behavioral Economics as a Lens for Examining Pretrial Behavior provides an alternative way to
interpret pretrial decision-making using approaches from economics and psychology. The pretrial
process is comprised of a series of decisions by a variety of individuals in various organizational
contexts, and we often know little about how those decisions are made. Behavioral economics
offers potential methods to focus on ways to increase efficacy and reduce biases and decisionmaking errors through offering incentives, examining the individual outlooks and backgrounds of
decision-makers, and altering the way in which information is presented.

Part IV
Building a National Research Agenda: Recommendations from the Field provides an overview
of the conversations by participants and presenters about creating and prioritizing issues for
research. Dozens of potential research questions from stakeholders representing all stages of the
pretrial process were considered. This section provides an overview of this dialogue as well as a
list of stakeholders’ specific recommendations for areas of inquiry.

Part V
A Call to Action: A Proposed National Research Agenda narrows the Roundtable participants’
myriad ideas into a formal agenda. This agenda identifies and prioritizes key topics for research
that will have the most impact in pretrial reform. Suggestions for research include:
• Studies that provide an overview of existing pretrial practices and outcomes
• Studies on police behavior and law enforcement organizational culture
• Studies on policing and racial bias
• Studies on arrest and alternatives to arrest
• Studies on prosecutorial discretion in charging, diversion, and bail
• Studies on the impact prosecutors have on case processing
• Studies on prosecutorial discretion and racial bias
• Studies on the availability and impact of defense counsel at various pretrial stages
• Studies on the validity and validation of risk assessment tools
• Studies on the development of risk assessment tools for domestic violence and DUI
• Studies on how decision-makers use risk assessment tools
• Studies on the potential for embedded racial bias in risk assessment tools
• Comparative analyses of the effectiveness of various forms of pretrial release
• Studies on the impact of bail on failure to appear and public safety
• Studies on the efficacy of types of pretrial supervision on failure to appear and public safety
• Studies on incentives to ensure pretrial supervision compliance
• Cost-benefit analyses of pretrial release forms vs. pretrial detention
• Micro-analysis of the jail population to determine who is in jail pretrial and why
• Studies on the reasons why pretrial detention leads to negative outcomes
• Studies on the efficacy of various case processing procedures and reforms
• Studies to assess how judges exercise their discretion
• Studies on judicial education to improve decision-making
• Studies on judicial discretion and racial bias
• Studies to evaluate a full range of disposition options, including behavioral health pathways, triaging minor
offenses, restorative justice, offender mediation, and individually-designed sentences
• Studies assessing the level and impact of victim participation in the pretrial process and the impact of pretrial
decisions on victims
• Studies that assess community values and expectations related to pretrial
• Studies to evaluate a public health model of crime prevention, considering the needs of the mentally ill and
those with substance abuse issues
• Studies on how best to disseminate innovation and implement evidence-based best practices in pretrial
Such research would further the goal to build a field of scholarship dedicated to the pretrial
stage and provide evidence for policy and procedural changes that can profoundly impact the
fairness, efficacy, and costs of the criminal justice system.

3

Part I

Setting the Context:
The Pretrial Landscape
in America
“We need to take a look at the decision points in pretrial
and ask the questions: Can we make these decision
points more effective? Can we make them fairer? Can we
make them in a way that reduces the amount of coercion
that is imposed upon the population?”
Dr. James T. Lynch, Chair
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
University of Maryland

What is the pretrial process? Why is it important to study? What do we need to study and what
resources do we need to accomplish that? These were some of the questions that Dr. James
Lynch, Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland,
raised in the Roundtable’s opening presentation to set the context for the larger conversation
about building a national pretrial research agenda.
As an initial matter, “pretrial” must be defined, in order to delimit the scope of what must be
studied. What are the components of the pretrial process, also known as the “front end of the
system”? Lynch outlined the following stages:
Arrest
Booking
Assignment of Counsel
Custody
Diversion
Charging
Filing
Plea Negotiation

4

Roundtable participants expanded on these stages, with President Travis suggesting that a pretrial
definition could be broadened to the “front of the front end of the system,” and include calls from
victims or citizen-witnesses to initiate police involvement. Others stressed the importance of the
first appearance, a stage at which many defendants remain unrepresented by counsel.
In considering these stages, Lynch outlined several key overarching issues for research to
determine:
Can we reduce the pretrial custody population?
Are the decisions in the pretrial process made fairly and effectively?
What do we need to know to monitor the health of the pretrial process?
In charts showing statistics related to arrest and pretrial release and detention over time, Lynch
highlighted the following trends:
1. While crime overall, and violent crime in particular, is down, arrests have risen in two categories:
minor violence (simple assaults) and drug possession. Looking at arrest rate data from the Bureau
of Justice Statistics between 1980 and 2009,1 Lynch asked, “If we’re thinking of reducing pretrial
population, we need to scrutinize the idea, why have these two things gone up?”

Arrest Rates by Time & Crime
Serious Violence

600

Minor Violence
Burg/MVT

500

Theft/3
Drug Pos

400

Drug Sale

300

200

100

09

20
10

07

6

08

20

20

20

05

3

4

20
0

20

20
0

02

01

20
0

20

00

99

20

20

97

98

19

19

19

95

19
96

19

93

19
94

91

92

19

19

19

19

90

0

5

2. There have been increases in the pretrial custody population even as arrests for serious crime
have declined. Trends in the stock of pretrial inmates from 1995 to 2014 are presented in the chart
below,
based on data gathered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Annual Survey of Jails:2
500,000

Trends in Stock of Pretrial Inmates
375,000
500,000

250,000
375,000

20
14

20
13

20
12

20
11

09

20
10

20

07

08
20

06

05

20

20

04

20

20

02

01

03
20

20

00

99

20

20

19

98

97

19

96

19

19

19

0
125,000

95

125,000
250,000

20
14

20
13

20
12

20
11

20
10

09

07

08

20

20

06

05

20

20

20

03

02

01

04

20

20

20

00

20

20

19

99

98

97

19

19

19

19

95

96

0
3. Even
as arrest rates for both felonies and misdemeanors have declined, 3 the number of persons
awaiting trial has continued to increase:4

Arrests & Pretrial Popultion Trends
Misdemeanor Arrests

14000000

Felony Arrests
Person Awaiting Trial *20

10500000

7000000

3500000

00
20
01
20
02
20
03
20
04
20
05
20
06
20
07
20
08
20
09
20
10
20
11
20
12
20
13
20
14

99

20

19

19
98

97

19

95

19

19

6

96

0

4. While the population of convicted jail inmates has remained steady since 2000, the population
of unconvicted inmates has climbed:5
500,000

Trends in Stock of Pretrial Inmates
375,000
500,000

Convicted

Persons

250,000
375,000

Persons

Unconvicted

125,000
250,000

20
12

20
13

20
14

20
12

20
13

20
14

20
11

20
10

20

20

09

08

07
20

06
20

20

20

05

00

125,0000

Years

20
11

09

20
10

20

20

08

07
20

06
20

20

20

05

00

0

5. Though arrests are down, the ratio Years
of the pretrial population to arrests has risen significantly:6
500,000

Ratio Pretrial Population to Arrests

3.75
250,000

2.5
125,000

20
14

20
13

20
12

20
11

20
10

20

20
0

09

8

7
20
0

20

20

20

05

06

0
00

1.25

Years

20
14

20
12
20
13

20
11

20
10

09

08

20

20

6

07

20

20
0

05

20

4

3

20
0

20
0

01

02

20

20

99

00

20

19

98

19

97

96

19

19

95

0
19

Persons

5
375,000

7

6. At the pretrial release stage, there have been substantial declines in the use of release on
recognizance (ROR), with simultaneous increases in the use of surety bonds. The following chart
illustrates trends in release type for state court felony defendants in the 75 largest counties in the
U.S. between 1990 and 2004:7

Arrests & Pretrial Popultion Trends
Surety Bond

50

ROR
Conditional
Deposit Bond

37.5

Unsecured Bond

Percent Releases

Full Cash Bond
25

12.5

04
20

02
20

00

19

20

98

96
19

94
19

92
19

19

90

0

Year

The reasons for these trends aren’t known, Lynch suggests, primarily because we do not have
the data to study them. Some aspects of pretrial have been studied more than others simply
because the data exist. As Lynch told the Roundtable, “The research gets done where the
data are. If the data are there, they will plumb it. The problem is, the data are not there.” Data
collection is complicated by a number of factors, according to Lynch. The pretrial process is highly
decentralized. Data are rarely kept on a case-level linked across decision-makers. Data are often
maintained by elected officials such as prosecutors and sheriffs who may be risk averse and
disinclined to open their files. One solution, Lynch suggested, is to influence national associations
to apply leverage to elected officials to disclose data.
What is most needed in pretrial research, in Lynch’s view, is simply information: Case-level data on
decisions that is linked across decision-makers. Data from multiple jurisdictions to facilitate the
evaluation of organizational context. Criminal history data, since many decisions in pretrial involve
the weighing of risk. Only with such data can the actions of many people making a sequential set
of decisions on cases be assessed as a whole.
To solve this problem, Lynch proposed “the building of a statistical infrastructure” to produce
case data linked across many agencies in the system. “This is not easy,” Lynch said, “because
you have to get them all cooperating. But that’s the kind of data that would allow it to shine the
8

light on the dark parts.” He also emphasized the importance of building a culture of sharing data:
“You need to get people to share data not on a case by case basis, but share it on a continuous
basis, so that they think of this as infrastructure, not as a particular project.” The next issue
becomes who can build such an infrastructure. “We have a federated system that makes it really,
really difficult,” Lynch noted. “Who can fill that void? Is it the Center for State Courts? Is it the
prosecutors’ association? Who do you bring to the table to give cogency and cooperation in this
very decentralized system?”
With good, accessible data, Lynch contended, research can identify ways of making decisions in
the pretrial process that can increase system fairness and efficacy. Then the challenge becomes
the adoption of such evidence-based practices. “When you find something that works,” Lynch
asked, “How do you disseminate it? How do you bring it to scale? What sort of incentive structure
needs to be in place to get people to adopt a tool?” Highlighting what he terms the “dissemination
of innovation,” Lynch emphasized that one aspect of pretrial reform must be to encourage
jurisdictions in the decentralized pretrial system to adopt innovations that have been proven to be
effective elsewhere.
Roundtable participants discussed some of the potential reasons for the trends Lynch highlighted,
some using words like “stunning” and “shocking” to describe the information. Dr. Marie
VanNostrand, a pretrial researcher with Luminosity, noted that what might be driving the pretrial
population is both the number of people and their increased length of stay. Dr. Barry Mahoney,
President Emeritus of the Justice Management Institute, was struck that while ROR is going down,
other types of supervised release were increasing, so that the ultimate “liberty change” might not
be as altered as it appears. Elyse Clawson, the Founder of Justice System Partners, looked at both
the increase in arrests for drug possession and the decrease in ROR and speculated if “in some
ways those conceivably are linked: that increased arrests for drug possession and reductions
in ROR may have some relationship.” Dr. Faye Taxman, a professor at George Mason University,
wondered about the impact of misdemeanors on these numbers. “The system is very stuck on how
to handle a lot of misdemeanor crimes,” she noted. “People look too unstable to release.” Taxman
also suggested looking at the creeping definition between misdemeanors and felonies over the
past 20 years, especially for drug possession. Could that be driving the increase in population?
Dr. Carla Shedd, a professor at Columbia University, noted the potential impact of case
continuances on the pretrial population. Leah Garabedian, Defender Counsel for the National
Legal Aid & Defender Association, suggested that state legislatures may be effectuating more
restrictions on release rules, which could be a factor in release rate changes. She proposed that
researchers could “do a scan of state legislative changes around what you can and cannot permit
in terms of releasing with or without conditions.”
Many participants cautioned against an assumption that the pretrial population is in jail solely
because they cannot make bail. Janice Radovick-Dean, the Director of the Fifth Judicial District of
Pennsylvania’s Pretrial Services Department, noted that there are many types of holds that can
result in an inmate being detained pretrial and that it is important, if we are to truly understand
the nature of the jail population, to make those classifications and to ensure that those
classifications are defined consistently for research purposes. “If you create those definitions for
systems to classify people coming into jail,” she said, “ideally on a national level – then everyone’s
comparing the same thing.” VanNostrand agreed: “The jail is much more than pretrial and postconviction.”
Some of the questions to be answered include, as Anne Milgram of LJAF put it, “What is the list
of the data we would want from the jails? What is the information we would need to be able
to answer the questions people are asking? Is that being collected and, if not, could we start a
national incentive campaign on it?”

9

Part II

A Step-By-Step
Review Of The
Pretrial Process
In order to provide a baseline of knowledge about the pretrial process, expert presenters on
each of its phases offered Roundtable participants an overview of the state of research in
their respective areas, detailing what is known and underscoring what is not known. Though
the agenda was divided into the traditional stages of pretrial, participants were encouraged
to think on a system-wide basis and even to consider broadly the very definition of pretrial.
These presentations then stimulated discussions of potential topics for further research.
The presentations were divided into five stages. Part A covers arrest and initial police-citizen
interactions. Part B looks at the decisions of what offenses to charge and, in particular, how
the exercise of prosecutorial discretion affects these choices. Part C considers the pretrial
release or detention decision, focusing on the methods by which those decisions are made, the
measurement of risk and the use of risk assessment tools, and the management of risk through
pretrial supervision conditions. Part D takes a step back and looks systemically at pretrial case
processing – those practices, procedures, and events that take place from the time charges are
filed until the commencement of trial or other disposition of the case. Finally, in Part E, we look
at case dispositions and how research might spur novel thinking about alternatives to traditional
sentences to incarceration.

A. Arrest and Initial Police-Citizen Interactions

“We haven’t learned a lot about the forces that shape the
discretionary decisions of police officers and their use of
authority, even though that’s been a recurring issue for decades.”
Dr. Robert Worden
University at Albany
State University of New York
The pretrial process begins at the point of a police-citizen interaction. A victim or citizen asks law
enforcement to intervene in a situation, or a police officer makes a discretionary decision to stop,
question, frisk, arrest, or cite an individual. Dr. Robert Worden, the Director of the John F. Finn
Institute for Public Safety, Inc., and an associate professor of criminal justice at the University at
Albany, State University of New York, provided the Roundtable with an overview about the state
of research into these initial contacts with the criminal justice system.
10

Police and Arrest: The Research Landscape. Worden offered a detailed outline of what is known and
not known about the decision to arrest, the decision to undertake alternatives to arrest, and the
individual and organizational factors that influence those behaviors. Worden told the Roundtable that
research over the last 15 years has dwelled largely on crime control, even as crime has plummeted.
“There’s been much less attention,” he said, “to questions about the justice and propriety with which
police act.”
According to Worden, we know quite a bit about the most immediate, or “situational,” influences on
arrest decisions by uniformed patrol officers. The following factors have substantively significant
effects on that decision: the strength of the evidence, the seriousness of the offense, the preference
of the victim/complainant for arrest or non-arrest, and the suspect’s demeanor toward the police.
We know much less, according to Worden, about the impact of other factors on police arrest decisions,
such as the backgrounds and outlooks of individual officers: “We don’t know a lot about the ways in
which individual officers exercise their discretion and the ways in which variation in that is patterned
by their backgrounds and their characteristics, even though we often prescribe that we should seek
changes in those backgrounds and characteristics when we talk about changes in police culture.”
Worden also indicated that little is known about the formal and informal characteristics of police
organizations, including their policies, procedures, incentives and disincentives, workload, supervision,
training, or peer group norms, as well as bureaucratization, decentralization of authority, job
specialization, geographic deployment, and management accountability mechanisms. Worden
emphasized how little is known about the impact of forms of external oversight, including that by local
elected officials, citizen oversight mechanisms like civilian review boards, and other structures like
police auditors.
Moreover, Worden noted, we know very little about the determinants of officers’ choices to exercise
forms of authority that are associated with arrest, such as the use of physical force and especially the
misuse of force; decisions to frisk, search, or ask for consent to search; and decisions to stop citizens.
Nor is there much research on how arrest and these other forms of authority are exercised – that is,
the procedural justice and injustice with which police apply their authority – and about the forces that
shape these behavioral patterns. There is also very little research into the forces that shape officers’
choices among non-arrest alternatives, such as warning, advising, or referral to social services.
“Officers on the street make decisions about whom to refer and whom to divert,” Worden noted, “and
as far as I know we don’t have a clue about how they make those decisions.”
Worden then turned to citizens’ perceptions of police. “We know that citizens’ subjective experiences
in their contacts with the police are related to their pre- and post-contact levels of trust in the police,”
he said, “but we know hardly anything about how and to what extent citizens’ subjective experiences
are affected by officers’ actions.”
Research Challenges. Worden provided an overview of the nature of research methodology for
observational studies of police. Previous research on police behavior and decision-making has relied
largely on systematic social observation (SSO). In SSO, data on police-citizen encounters are coded
by observers in numerical terms. Forms of police behavior are treated as the dependent variable in
regression equations that include, as explanatory variables, features of police-citizen interactions,
including characteristics of the citizens, from which inferences are drawn about the factors that
influence decision-making.
In Worden’s view, SSO is particularly well-suited for analyzing the situational factors that impinge
on decision-making, but it has its limits. It is less well-suited for analyzing the effects of officers’
backgrounds and outlooks or of organizational structures. In-person observation is also expensive,
and so the last large-scale observational projects were undertaken 15-20 years ago, with only some
small-scale projects since then.
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Coupling observations with “debriefings” of officers – inviting officers to recount their thinking
shortly after their resolutions of police-citizen interactions – has been done on a limited
basis and shows some promise for enriching our understanding of the cognitive processes of
discretionary decision-making.
The advent of dash-mounted and body-worn cameras in policing has opened up new possibilities
for observational studies of policing – what Worden referred to as “armchair observation.”
Armchair observation is much more economical and allows for more flexibility in sampling,
so that we might better analyze and understand differences in individual patterns of police
behavior, inter- and intra-organizational differences in police behavior, and behavioral responses
in “critical incidents,” in which differences in officers’ knowledge, skills, and abilities are more
likely to be manifested.
Judge Roger Warren, the President Emeritus of the National Center for State Courts, raised the
relationship between departmental strategies or priorities about arrest – things like hot spots
policing and zero tolerance – and arrest rates. “Law enforcement has been in the business of
going out and deciding to arrest as a matter of law enforcement policy certain kinds of people
in certain kinds of neighborhoods for certain kinds of things,” Warren said. “Do we know what
the relationship is between those arrest polices and the arrest rates?” Chief Scott Thomson of
Camden, New Jersey concurred. Often, he said, referencing the Department of Justice report
on Ferguson, who gets arrested “comes down to political mandates.” Looking at non-arrest
alternatives, Radovick-Dean asked: “How do we measure crime prevention as opposed to making
the arrest? How do you measure not making the arrest?”
Shedd proposed looking at the police-citizen interaction from a sociological perspective: Looking
at the race of officers and how that intersects with the race of citizens and whether that dynamic
changes citizens’ assessment of these interactions. Garabedian also emphasized the importance
of race: “Race underlies every aspect of the decision points and research, particularly with the
police-citizen interaction.” She suggested tracking the races of officers, the racial make-ups of
departments, and the make-up of departments as compared to the communities they serve, and
analyzing how that affects outcomes like arrest.

B. Charging and Prosecutorial Discretion

“We don’t know very much about why prosecutors
choose to charge cases as felonies versus
misdemeanors, or why they dismiss or divert.”
Rachel Barkow
Professor of Law
New York University
The nature of the charge against a particular defendant can impact bail amount, pretrial release and
detention decisions, risk assessment scores, plea agreements and other disposition alternatives,
and the ultimate length of a sentence to incarceration. Professor Rachel Barkow, the Segal Family
Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy at New York University, opened the Roundtable discussion
on the question of charging with a particular focus on prosecutorial discretion.
Barkow presented four areas of research questions that could be posed about the charging stage
of the pretrial process: (1) decisions to charge offenses as felonies; (2) decisions to charge as part of
the misdemeanor docket; (3) decisions to divert; and (4) decisions to make particular bail requests.
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1. What Factors Influence a Prosecutor’s Decision to Bring Felony Charges in a Case? What drives
a prosecutor’s decision to charge a case as a felony? Barkow hypothesized that the increased
issuance of felony charges could be one of the drivers in the increase in incarceration. Yet, she said,
we don’t know very much about why prosecutors make these decisions. She made a number of
research suggestions in this area.
First, she said, it would be helpful to find out if, within prosecutor’s offices, there are particular
charging guidelines to assist in making this decision. Perhaps, she suggested, prosecutors are
looking at a defendant’s prior record of multiple misdemeanors and making a decision to charge as
a felony in the instant case because of this past history. She also suggested it might be helpful to
consider whether prosecutors could use an internal risk assessment tool in making these charging
decisions, so that they could direct their felony case resources toward those defendants who pose
higher public safety risks.
Second, Barkow wondered if prosecutors are charging cases as felonies in order to ultimately
obtain a particular sentence. If this is the case, Barkow suggests further asking why prosecutors are
making such a determination: Why do they think a particular sentence makes sense in a particular
case? Have they considered split sentences, programming, or other factors, or are they just
interested in a particular length of sentence or whether there is a mandatory minimum involved?
Third, Barkow questioned whether what’s driving the decision to charge a case as a felony is the
potential to use the charge as leverage in future plea negotiations. If this is the case, Barkow
suggested, the felony charge is more likely to result in pretrial detention for the defendant, which
might not be necessary or wouldn’t have been issued given the ultimate charge the prosecutor
hopes that individual will plead to.
2. How is Prosecutorial Decision-Making Affecting the Misdemeanor Docket? In light of the ten
million petty cases filed each year, Barkow offered the following key questions for study:
Do we know why prosecutors dismiss misdemeanors?
Can we track what prosecutors are doing internally to improve office systems to move
misdemeanor cases more quickly?
What information do prosecutors have about the impact of case continuances when
making decisions about misdemeanor case management? Are they considering that
the length of pretrial detention might be criminogenic in the long run, so that there
is a worse public safety outcome by allowing cases to drag on? Do prosecutors have
access to this sort of information? Do they perform any kind of cost-benefit thinking
about these factors?
3. How Do Prosecutors Make Decisions about Diversion? Prosecutors are making decisions about
who should and should not be diverted, allowing certain defendants to avoid charges or obtain an
adjournment in contemplation of dismissal if they complete a diversion program. Barkow suggested
that we know next to nothing about how these decisions are made. As research matters, she
suggested the following areas of study:
Are there racial biases involved in decisions to divert?
Who do prosecutors think are eligible to participate in diversion?
On what facts are prosecutors making these decisions?
On what facts should prosecutors be making these decisions?
What level risk of offender can and should be diverted?
Are people being required to plead guilty as a condition of diversion? How does that type of
model compare to one that does not require a guilty plea?
What kind of reward or incentive should be given to someone who participates in a
diversion program? Reductions in sentence? Outright dismissal? How is success measured?

13

Barkow also raised the issue of categories of offenders who aren’t eligible for diversion either by
statute or office policy. Sex offenders, for example, are barred from most programs. This issue
raised a question of whether these statutory exclusions comport with what we know about risk.
She posed this potential study: Track those categorical bars as well as the factors that make
someone eligible for diversion and then try to determine if there is a fit problem between the
people we’re barring from the programs and the people we allow in. A similar study might look at
whether or not these eligibility criteria lead to overlap with racial disparities.
4. What Influences Prosecutors to Make Bail Requests? Barkow also raised the issue of
prosecutorial decisions to request bail, asking “What is prompting prosecutors to make bail
requests? Are they just reflexively doing it? Is it based on charge severity or criminal history?”
She suggested as research possibilities looking at how prosecutors could be incentivized to use
risk tools to help them with some of these decisions, or a study considering what kind of system
impact might be felt if prosecutors began to waive bail in certain cases. Would this lead to a
domino effect to help judges rethink the perfunctory setting of bail?
Roundtable participants suggested a number of potential research questions related to the
charging phase. John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, asked “What is the effect
of the officer’s presentation of the case to the prosecutor?” Milgram wondered how the victim
response affected prosecutorial decision-making. Chief Thomson noted that in his experience,
with the exception of homicide, most charging decisions lie with the police, who may charge as
much as they can to see which charge or charges ultimately stick.

C. Pretrial Release Decisions

“Most research is not on HOW we should make the
decisions, it just shows how horrible the consequences are.”
Dr. Marie VanNostrand
Justice Project Manager
Luminosity
For every arrestee, a decision must be made whether to detain or release that individual and, if
released, on what conditions, whether under various methods of pretrial supervision and/or secured
bonds. Dr. Marie VanNostrand, an expert on the pretrial phase of the criminal justice system and
the Justice Project Manager at Luminosity, provided the Roundtable with an overview of how pretrial
release decisions are currently being made, as well as the state of research in this area.
How Pretrial Release Decisions are Made. For every defendant, a judicial officer has to decide:
“Should I release this person and, if so, under what conditions?” The legal considerations that
underlie those decisions are the risk that person poses to public safety and the risk that the person
will fail to appear in court if released. These potential risks must be balanced against the legal and
constitutional rights of pretrial defendants: the presumption of innocence, the right to release on
the least restrictive terms and conditions, and the right to equal protection. VanNostrand shared,
anecdotally, that judges sometimes make that decision in less than a minute.
Pretrial release decisions in America are primarily made in one of the following three ways:

14

Bond Schedules. A large number of jurisdictions rely on bond schedules to guide the release
decision. In most cases, this simply equates a particular charge with a particular bond amount.
According to VanNostrand, this practice results in ‘dual system errors.’ Many low risk defendants
are detained solely due to their inability to pay the bond amount, while many high risk
defendants are released because they have the ability to pay. As VanNostrand stated, “People
are treated the same, but what happens to them is not fair.”
Subjective Decision-Making. In some jurisdictions, release decisions are based solely on
a subjective appraisal of each defendant. The result is decision-making that varies greatly
from one location to another and even within a single jurisdiction. The people who make the
decisions vary widely, as do the information, tools, and procedures that are used.
Risk-based Decision-Making. In risk-based determinations, the risk to public safety and of
non-appearance is measured and the risk posed by pretrial defendants released into the
community is managed. In VanNostrand’s words, “Judicial discretion is used but the decision is
informed by a formalized objective system which usually involves a risk assessment.” A pretrial
risk assessment measures the risk to public safety and of non-appearance in court for pretrial
defendants and a structured decision-making tool is used to identify release recommendations
designed to manage risk in the most effective manner. The goal of risk-based decision-making
is to identify and (1) release low-risk defendants with minimal or no conditions at the earliest
point; (2) release moderate-risk defendants with supervision and services targeted to mitigate
risk; and (3) detain, when allowable, the highest-risk defendants.
State of the Research
Legal Issues Surrounding Pretrial Release. According to VanNostrand, considerable peer-reviewed
articles have been published relating to the legal considerations associated with pretrial justice,
such as maintaining the integrity of the judicial process and honoring the legal and constitutional
rights afforded to accused persons awaiting trial.
Impact of Release and Detention Decisions. She also noted that extensive research has been
conducted and published in peer-reviewed journals related to the impact of the release and
detention decision. “If you’re looking in the literature about the release and detention decision,”
she told the Roundtable, “most of what you’re going to find particularly in peer-reviewed journals is
about the negative consequences of detention.” Research has shown that being detained pending
trial impacts (1) the likelihood of receiving a sentence to incarceration; (2) the length of the sentence
to incarceration; (3) public safety in both the short- and long-term; (4) court appearance; and (5)
the legal and constitutional rights afforded to pretrial defendants. The negative consequences of
pretrial detention are amplified for low-risk, low-income defendants, especially those of color.
Risk Measurement. VanNostrand stressed that in order to be effective, risk assessment instruments
must be research-based, objective, and fair. She noted that fewer than ten percent of jurisdictions
nationally employ risk assessment instruments to inform pretrial release decisions and, of those,
“many are not based on research and they haven’t been validated.”
VanNostrand outlined the state of research into risk measurement:
Multi-jurisdictional pretrial risk assessments have been developed for use in seven states
(Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, and Virginia);
A pretrial risk assessment is used in the federal court system;
There have been two meta-analyses of pretrial risk assessments; and
LJAF developed the Public Safety Assessment (PSA), a national model for risk assessment
instruments.

15

Research also establishes that the strongest predictors of pretrial outcome are measures of
criminal history and court appearance history. However, VanNostrand observed, little, if any,
pretrial risk assessment research has been peer reviewed.
Risk Management. Limited research has been done to identify effective risk reduction strategies
for pretrial defendants. VanNostrand noted that the research to date provides support for the
following:
Court reminders reduce failure to appear;
Pretrial supervision reduces failure to appear; and
The risk principle applies to pretrial release.
In VanNostrand’s words, we need to know “nearly everything.” This stage of pretrial is ripe for
studies that would:
Expand knowledge of pretrial risk assessment generally;
Explore risk assessment for defendants charged with domestic violence
and driving under the influence; and
Identify risk management strategies that are consistent with legal and
constitutional rights.
Roundtable participants raised questions about the ways in which decision-makers are using
risk tools. Taxman noted that “We don’t really know how system actors understand what’s in the
tools, how to use the tools, and how to integrate that into key decisions.” Barbara Broderick, Chief
Probation Officer for the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department in Arizona, mentioned the
need for implementation science around the use of risk tools to test for quality assurance: “Do
we have fidelity to the program?” she queried.
Others worried about the use of criminal histories in risk tools and the potential such factors
have to introduce bias into the pretrial release decision, based on historically increased contact
with the system for people of color; a concern that was echoed later in the recommendations
panel portion of the Roundtable. Chisholm noted, however, that “we’ve seen the consequences
of the bond schedule and mandatory minimums and codified restrictions on discretion – the
National Academy report shows that subjective decision-making has led to incarceration rates
that are simply disproportional.”

D. Case Processing

“It is worth investing in research on ways to build and use
information systems that cut across agency and court silos and
provide much better information than is currently available for at
least four purposes: (i) individual case decision-making; (ii) agency
and court management purposes; (iii) statistical analysis; and (iv)
policy development and implementation.”
Dr. Barry Mahoney
President Emeritus
The Justice Management Institute
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Case processing comprises those practices, procedures, and events that take place in criminal
cases from the time charges are filed against a defendant until the commencement of a trial or the
disposition of the case by dismissal, diversion, or plea of guilty. Dr. Barry Mahoney, the President
Emeritus of the Justice Management Institute and a researcher and consultant on court and justice
system operations, provided the Roundtable with a holistic look at what is known and not known
about how case processing decisions are made and whether those decisions are effective. In
Mahoney’s view, the optimal characteristics of a system of pretrial case processing are (i) processes
that are fair, timely, understandable, respectful, and economical/cost effective; and (ii) outcomes
that have legitimacy and proportionality.
The current state of researched-based knowledge about case processing, however, is mixed.
Mahoney noted that there is a dearth of hard national data on case processing, especially in limited
jurisdiction courts, but that there is plenty of material that can be useful in shaping future research
and developing a comprehensive agenda for needed reforms. This existing research includes:
Studies of individual courts and local criminal justice systems;
Some work on the dynamics of decision-making in felony courts;
A few multi-jurisdiction studies of case processing and court delay issues;
Some research on specific aspects of the process, such as decisions on release/detention
and plea bargaining practices; and
Recently, work on limited jurisdiction court processes has documented egregious abuses in
the imposition of economic obligations and related use of jail.
In Mahoney’s view, there are a number of what he terms “long-standing abuses in pretrial case
processing” that merit consideration in a research agenda. These include:
Detention (often for long periods) of low risk defendants who cannot afford bail;
Bail decisions made without the judicial officer having information about the defendant or
about the nature and severity of risks potentially posed by defendant’s release;
Defendants in “minor” cases induced to plead to charges without legal assistance and
without awareness of the consequences of a guilty plea;
Lengthy (and costly) duration of cases, with multiple continuances;
Outcomes of the process that have resulted in mass incarceration and over-representation
of people of color in prisons, jails, and probation caseloads; and
Imposition of fees, fines, court costs, and other economic obligations during the pretrial
process and at sentencing, without regard to a defendant’s ability to meet them.
In Mahoney’s view, research in this area – especially multi-jurisdiction comparative research – could
identify fairer and more effective alternatives to avoid the negative outcomes he raised. Research
is desirable to examine practices at all levels of courts, in different environments, and especially in
less visible courts that deal with minor offenses. “These courts handle cases that involve and affect
vastly greater numbers of people than the more visible felony cases,” Mahoney stated. In addition
to studying individual courts, research is needed that compares processes and outcomes across
jurisdictions to determine what differences emerge, and what factors correlate with case processing
practices and outcomes that are closest to the optimum characteristics of a system.

17

He listed these questions for comparative analysis:
What key differences exist in the legal frameworks for case processing?
What options are available to relevant decision-makers (e.g., prosecutor, defendant,
defense attorney, judicial officer) at key stages and decision points of the process?
What information is available and to whom at these stages?
What legal assistance/advice is available to the defendant at these stages?
What restrictions and economic obligations is the defendant under at these stages?
What is the duration of the process, both in total length in time and number of scheduled
court dates?
What are the outcomes, in terms of restrictions on the defendant’s liberty and imposition
of economic obligations?
Mahoney also identified opportunities for research that assesses experiments with changes in
procedural and substantive criminal law and the introduction of new case processing practices,
such as:
De-criminalization of specific minor offenses
Elimination of mandatory minimum sentences
Elimination of reliance on surety bail
Increased use of risk assessment in pretrial decision-making
Use of alternatives to jail for non-criminal violation of release conditions
Rapid access to relevant behavioral health background information about individuals
Active implementation of case processing time standards
Renewal and re-design of day fine experiments
Caps on maximum amounts of economic obligations that can be imposed on a defendant
Procedures that can enable offenders facing unpayable economic obligations imposed by
the justice system to reduce the burden
Alternative ways of providing legal advice/assistance to defendants, especially in minor
cases
Electronic recording of all proceedings in courts that handle minor offenses
Who could provide such research? According to Mahoney, “There are knowledgeable organizations
and individual researchers working in and with jurisdictions throughout the country who can be
valuable resources in designing and carrying out research aimed at markedly improving pretrial
case processing.” He identified university-based researchers, researchers in nonprofit and forprofit organizations specializing in court and criminal justice system operations, foundations, and
federal agencies.
Mahoney summarized his top priorities for research on pretrial case processing:
Basic descriptive research to develop data-based typologies of case processing policies,
practices, and outcomes in different levels of courts and different socio-political
environments;
Comparative analysis to contrast jurisdictions with less optimal outcomes with processes in
jurisdictions that have good or promising practices;

18

Studies to assess the effectiveness of innovations designed to increase the fairness and
timeliness of case processing and the legitimacy and proportionality of outcomes; and
Education and outreach to engage practitioners and policymakers at all levels in shaping
policies that are responsive to evidence produced by the research.
Roundtable participants focused particularly on the effect of the presence of counsel in case
processing, particularly in municipal courts. Garabedian noted that although the constitution
mandates that defendants facing a liberty decision have counsel present, this isn’t always the
case. “There’s no data on how many defendants go to first appearance without counsel,” she said.
Worden suggested that research could determine “whether and how much outcomes change with
counsel at first appearance.”
Milgram suggested that perhaps there should be a challenge or incentive grant focused on case
processing time: “Why do defendants come back to court twelve times? Why do defendants come
back when they’re not needed? How do we translate that into research?”
Barkow proposed studying the effect of who in the prosecutor’s office is making screening
decisions, suggesting that junior staff might be more risk averse or more likely to obtain
continuances. She asked: “Do the people in the office matter as far who on the prosecutorial staff
– from junior to senior – is screening? Does it make a difference in case processing?”
Barkow also advocated studying how technology might help: “Can technology, such as video
check-ins, help speed up delays so that defendants don’t actually have to go to the courthouse?”
President Travis followed up, suggesting a look at text messaging, night court availability, etc.:
“Can you reduce barriers to make it easier for people to meet their obligations?”
Chisholm brought in a note of hope. Wisconsin is moving to a unified court system called
“Measures for Justice,” which will allow for case processing data to be publicly compared across
counties, providing an incentive to decision-makers. He also put forward the importance of
precision epidemiology, a public health approach to public safety: “You really do have the
capacity to de-identify but link public health data, public education data, public safety data,
community development data, and geocode to identify red flags in very specific neighborhoods.
So instead of having broad-based strategies to address problems you can focus on very specific
populations with a wide array of resources.”
The group ended on the issues of organizational change and adoption of new practices. In
Clawson’s view, “Organizational change work and change around the culture is going to be
absolutely essential – really seeing the power that the players have and which players have the
most power.” President Travis summarized the importance of organizational context: “How does
reform get implemented?”

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E. Case Dispositions

“We don’t know about how decisions are made to use different
dispositions throughout the systems except in guideline specific
states where judges are bound.”
Dr. Faye Taxman, Director
Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence
George Mason University

The pretrial phase ends with either the commencement of trial or, far more often, in some other
non-trial disposition of the case: plea bargaining, sentencing to time served, diversion, probation,
fines, referrals to social services, community service, and/or restitution. According to Dr. Faye
Taxman, Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence at George Mason University,
at present there are a limited number of dispositions available and most non-incarcerative
dispositions rely on the probation department for their execution. This might not be the best fit,
as Taxman noted that probation departments are geared to focus attention on higher risk and
higher needs individuals who present threats to public safety. As such, probation might not have
the capacity “to adequately handle lower risk, lower need individuals within a different framework
or set of processes.” The question then becomes, she told the Roundtable, “How would we put in
place the capacity of organizational systems to offer a full array of dispositions?”
She challenged the Roundtable participants to think of a research agenda in terms of novel types
of dispositions that might better serve some of these individuals. In her words, “overall, the justice
system has not fully taken advantage of restorative justice and civil processes to address the
harms from a criminal event from lower risk, lower need individuals.”
Taxman identified three areas in which research could spur new thinking about optimal
dispositions for certain categories of offenders:
1. Triage drug addicts, alcoholics, and the seriously mentally ill into a behavioral health pathway.
There is a growing consensus, according to Taxman, that the justice system might not be the best
place for this category of defendants. Accordingly, she suggests providing screening at the earliest
possible stage for substance abuse, alcoholism, and serious mental illnesses to assess both
behavioral health and readiness for behavioral health treatment services. In Taxman’s scheme:
a. The screening and assessment should occur at booking to expedite the identification of
individuals with clear behavioral health disorders.
b. Treatment should be of longer duration given the severity of the addiction or mental
illness (around 12 months) with other services to provide a continuum of care.
c. It might be necessary to use various types of controls (i.e., electronic monitoring,
interlock, etc.) for those individuals where their criminal behavior may present a public
safety threat (i.e., drinking and driving, property crimes, etc.).
d. Diversion into treatment should carry with it the potential to “erase” the arrest if the
individual completes the program and remains drug/alcohol free for 12 months.
e. For the seriously mentally ill group, the goal should be to encourage medication
compliance and treatment compliance.

20

Taxman suggested research in the following areas to learn more about whether and how such
diversion into treatment would work:
Studies on how to structure the diversion or specialized behavioral health programming
Studies to identify how to measure readiness for treatment and the degree to which
different incentives can be used to increase readiness
Studies to identify how to assist the seriously mentally ill to comply with medication
requirements
2. Triage minor offenses, such as those with sentences under 12 months, into non-incarcerative
sentences that are swift, certain, and very time delimited. Over the years, Taxman said, “We’ve
criminalized a lot of behavior.” She championed the use of mediation, conflict resolution,
community service, fines, and restorative justice programming for any person arrested for an
offense that includes an incarcerable sentence of less than 12 months or the potential for short
periods of probation. The goal would be to find a short-term response that is proportionate to the
nature of the crime and that is designed to have the individual address the harm that occurred,
and to offer this alternative within 30 days of the event to create a swift response to the behavior.
Taxman views this type of disposition as a useful strategy to address “broken window” type minor
offenses and small property crimes.
Taxman proposed the following procedural framework:
The dollar value of the sentence should not exceed a certain multiple of the dollar value of
the crime and the cost of the criminal justice processing (Taxman suggests three times the
value).
Mediation or conflict resolution should be offered instead of criminal prosecution within 30
days of personal and property crimes like simple assaults or shoplifting.
Fines or community service should be used for a greater array of offenses, particularly
those that have nine months or less of probation. A model to consider is the Vera Institute
“day fine” approach, also used in many European countries, where the number of days of
a sentence is proportionate to the crime and, if community service or day fines are given,
the amount should be determined based on the level of wages that an individual is likely to
receive on a daily basis.
Taxman suggested that a series of studies be conducted to see how such a process would affect
recidivism, perceptions of procedural justice, and system costs and benefits.
3. Enhance the meaning of sentences by providing individuals the option to design their own
sentence. In perhaps her most out of the box suggestion, Taxman proposed that we consider the
impact of having individuals convicted of crime select their punishment. “How do we introduce
the client’s voice in their sentence?” she asked. The lack of defendant inclusion in the process of
sentence development, in Taxman’s view, may result in lack of ownership of the behavior and the
punishment itself. Her hypothesis: “Being involved in determining the components of punishment
should increase the individual’s sense of fairness and procedural justice as well as the legitimacy of
the sentence.”

21

Taxman suggested the following possibilities for such a system:
Establish an interchangeable framework for sentences from the perspective of society,
justice system decision-makers, and those included in the justice system, to account for
proportionality and parsimony. Research could help to determine what types of trade-offs
with incarceration would be acceptable to different stakeholders, and how the sentence
options could be enlarged.
Develop a shared-sentencing framework where the individual identifies the key sentencing
components that would serve to either rehabilitate, be a form of restitution, or deter from
future behavior. The individual would inform the judge of their desired sentence options
and the judge would be informed by this perspective. This framework could then be studied
and tested for procedural justice, fairness, and impact on recidivism.
Develop a series of incentives for individuals to participate in sentences that involve
behavioral change as compared to incarceration, using their own health insurance (in
Medicaid expansion states) to participate in a series of evidence-based programming that
is better suited to change behavior, with incentives designed to address criminogenic needs
as well as risk factors.
She proposed the following research to assess such a scheme:
Conduct a series of studies to assess how individuals participate in the shared sentencing
development process: what components are selected, how those components relate to the
risk and need factors of the individual, etc.
Examine how the individual’s involvement in sentence design affects compliance and
outcomes.
Milgram would prioritize research on restorative justice and offender mediation. She also wondered
if there are any jurisdictions that could be studied currently using a pretrial risk assessment,
mental health assessment, and a substance abuse assessment. Shedd suggested that there is a
“lack of trust in alternative systems. How are we going to move these systems, especially with the
lack of trust across these processes?”
With respect to the mentally ill, Jennifer Perez, Director of Trial Court Services for the New Jersey
Judiciary, noted that the criminal justice system is often left to intervene in the absence of other
social services. “Incarceration,” she said, “is being used to save people on behalf of the entire
system.” This brought President Travis back to the framework of values: “This exchange raises the
normative question of who makes what decision, at what point in the process, exercising what
authority, and to what extent do we allow the extension of state supervision over somebody who
is either charged with something really minor and therefore we should be very hesitant, using
parsimony, to allow state authority; or who is so ill in some way, either through addiction or mental
health, that it’s just somehow morally wrong—or the right thing to do is something other than—to
put them in jail. We have this crosscutting value proposition.”

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Part III

Behavioral Economics
As A Lens For Examining
Pretrial Behavior
“Behavioral economics recognizes that decisions are
constrained by cognitive, emotional, and motivational limits
and that preferences may be context dependent, beliefs
about the world may be biased, and individuals do not or
cannot always choose optimal actions.”
Dr. Saurabh Bhargava
Assistant Professor of Economics
Carnegie Mellon University
The Roundtable presentations and discussions on the various pretrial stages underscored
the impact that the various decision points along the path have on outcomes for individual
defendants, as well as their effects on the system as a whole. Little is known about the factors
that underlie individual decision-making behavior or contribute to overall organizational culture.
Dr. Saurabh Bhargava is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University who
specializes in behavioral economics. His presentation provided the Roundtable with a different
approach for viewing decision-making in the pretrial context.
The traditional rational model of behavior in economics assumes that people have coherent,
stable, and known preferences, rationally form beliefs about the world, and choose optimal
actions based on those beliefs and experiences. In contrast, behavioral economics is an
approach that leverages insights from psychology and other social sciences to produce more
realistic descriptions of how people behave. In the pretrial context, Bhargava focused on three
areas where behavioral economics studies could assist in explaining and altering the actions of
those in the system: (i) the behavior of police; (ii) pretrial release and defendant compliance; and
(iii) how to aid experts in making pretrial decisions.
1. The Behavior of Police. Bhargava raised two issues with respect to police behavior – the role of
incentives and the nature of police bias.
First, he posed the question: “What are the structural approaches for increasing police efficacy?”
He discussed a study of police arbitrations in compensation disputes in New Jersey and
noted that police performance was highly sensitive to arbitration outcomes: when police were
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successful, their case clearance rate rose 12% and, when unsuccessful, their case clearance rate
dropped 6%. These effects were potentially linked to changes in police effort and willingness to
cooperate with courts and prosecutors and, strikingly, the effects persisted for months and months
after the decisions. The takeaway: Police productivity – their effort, motivation, and satisfaction
– is highly sensitive to incentives and perceived fairness. These results, according to Bhargava,
“speak to the need for more work on the role of institutional incentives on productivity outcomes in
policing and the need for a metric for what productivity really means in the context of police.”
As a matter of research, Bhargava noted that there has been very little work into the role of
incentives in police behavior. Behavioral economic studies could look into the efficacy of incentives
and how best to design them. Some of the questions Bhargava suggested that would require field
research in the police context include:
Can small, preferably non-monetary, incentives tied to outcomes be effectual, and what
outcome metric should be used?
Do perceptions of fairness and reciprocity heighten motivation?
How can we test for behaviorally modified versions of incentives to see if they make a
difference on outcomes?
He then moved to the question of racial bias, asking: “How do we measure racial prejudice (or
other decision-making mistakes) in policing?” Bhargava noted that there are “strong econometric
challenges in causally capturing the effects of things like racial bias that seem to resonate and
we all believe exist in some form.” Though there is clear evidence for racial disparities in average
outcomes, he noted, the econometric challenge is distinguishing between statistical and tastebased discrimination. One potential measure of discrimination is to look at average search success
by race, but doing so, Bhargava noted, “may lead to incorrect conclusions if there are unobserved
predictors of search correlated with race.” He identified three such studies and their results, which
were mixed:
Anwar and Fang (2006) leveraged police and motorist race as a means of overcoming
this identification problem and did not find evidence for relative racial prejudice in drug
searches in Florida.
Antonovics and Knight (2007) employed a similar strategy in their analysis of police
searches in Boston and did find evidence that officers treat other-race motorists more
harshly.
Gelman et al. (2007) looked at 125,000 pedestrian stops in New York and found that police
were more likely to stop people of color relative to a baseline of prior year arrest rates.
Bhargava suggested the need for more field research. This research may be difficult to design, he
noted, but could determine what the situational contexts are that lead to prejudicial behavior or,
more generally, other decision-making errors, and who is prone to making such mistakes.
2. Pretrial Release and Defendant Compliance. Bhargava posed this behavioral question as to the
pretrial supervision stage: “Given the high costs of non-compliance, why do some defendants fail
to comply?” What research has found in other contexts is that people may have distorted beliefs
with respect to the costs and benefits of infractions. Even when people want to comply, a variety
of factors may lead to non-compliance, such as small administrative hassles, forgetfulness or
limited attention, impulsivity, confusion due to the complexity of information, mental health issues
or substance abuse, and/or fear and anxiety. The effects of these factors, Bhargava noted, may
disproportionately affect the poor and less educated.

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Behavioral economics has shown that we can improve compliance through scalable, low-cost
interventions that are worth testing in the pretrial context, such as:
The benefits of using simplified information regarding rules, requirements, and
expectations
Persuasive messaging
Reminders by text, peers, and/or family
Intention prompts that ask people to indicate what they are going to do and when
Immediate small incentives or swift and certain punishments
Higher cost methods to increase compliance could include pretrial mentorship, cognitive-behavioral
therapy interventions, or monitoring technology.
3. Aiding Experts in Pretrial Decisions. Bhargava then focused on how to help experts – in
particular judges – make better decisions in the pretrial system. He spoke to two issues related to
judicial behavior: decision-making errors and biases and judicial use of pretrial tools.
First, he addressed decision-making errors by judges. Research suggests that even experts are
subject to systematic decision-making errors in high stakes settings, Bhargava noted, especially
when they are making high frequency decisions with little information, as often happens with
pretrial release or the setting of bail. In such situations, experts may be susceptible to errors due to
both overconfidence and reliance on simplified heuristics which can lead to systematic errors.
Field evidence on judicial sentencing and bail hearing decisions suggests racial discrimination (e.g.,
Abrams, Bertrand, Mullainathan 2010), potential susceptibility to sequential decision-making errors
such as contrast effects (Bhargava 2008), and an inability to ignore inadmissible evidence, all can
affect judges’ decisions. There is a need for more research to develop persuasive field evidence on
how judges and prosecutors make decisions.
Bhargava then addressed judicial behavior with respect to using pretrial decision aids, such as risk
assessment tools. He noted that “simply providing information or tools – especially complicated
information on risk – may lead to misinterpretation, information avoidance, confusion, or false
confidence in decisions.” Research should be done on how best to package this information to
judges in a simple and actionable manner. Given limits on how people process information, he
further suggested that there might be benefits to providing default recommendations or restricting
choice sets based on decision aids. “Most research suggests,” Bhargava noted, “that when experts
are subjected to a lot of complicated information they disengage. They don’t know what to do with
it. They have difficulty translating it into actions. The way in which the tool conveys the information
is hugely important in the effectiveness of its use and the willingness of the expert to use it.”
Roundtable participants identified many possible behaviors that could be analyzed using
behavioral economics. Radovick-Dean suggested testing the paperwork used in the pretrial process,
asking: “Are forms keeping people from coming to court because they are too complicated?”
Chisholm proposed analyzing juvenile offenders who have weapons charges to learn “what drives
you to pick up a gun and what could change that decision?” Dr. Mona Danner, a professor of
sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University, raised the issue of buy-in: “If you want to
get people to buy into new ideas you’ve got to sell them well, you’ve got to market them well.”

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Part IV

Building A National
Research Agenda:
Recommendations From The Field
“Targeted research and analysis is needed to lay the foundation
for a system of pretrial justice that upholds the presumption of
innocence, addresses systemic biases, and supports the health
and well-being of communities by reducing the number of
people under the purview of the criminal justice system.”
Jim Parsons
Vice President & Research Director
Vera Institute of Justice
In order to bring in even more voices to shape a research agenda, representatives from other
organizations that are deeply involved in pretrial were invited to present their recommendations for
study from their policy or practitioner perspectives. Four presented at the Roundtable and others
submitted their recommendations in writing. The four were: the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Texas Public
Policy Foundation, the Vera Institute for Justice, and the American Bail Coalition.

A. Presentations from Stakeholder Organizations
The Pretrial Justice Institute. The mission of the nonprofit Pretrial Justice institute is to advance safe, fair,
and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices. Michael Jones, PJI’s Director of Implementation,
began by identifying three broad categories of research that can be done: (i) research on what is
currently happening in pretrial, which would provide a snapshot of the current landscape; (ii) research on
why those things are happening or, as he put it, “What are the causes or correlates of the kinds of things
we’re observing;” and (iii) research on what we can do about those things. “What can we change to make
improvements?” Jones asked. “How can we make things more effective and remedy those inefficiencies?”
Jones offered three specific ideas for research, all of which fall into the third category above –
determining how to make the system more effective:
What release conditions – non-financial and financial, at what doses, and at what
frequency – are effective in reducing pretrial risk of failure to appear and new
criminal activity, and for which defendants?

26

What is the robust empirical evidence that pretrial risk assessment instruments
are not biased toward certain subgroups, and that they do not contribute to racial
and ethnic disparity given that certain demographic subgroups are arrested more
frequently, charged differently, convicted differently and, perhaps, “over-policed”?
What is the impact of pretrial reform on pretrial release rates, failure to appear
rates, and new criminal activity rates in states like Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, and
Kentucky that have made certain types of changes (e.g., rewritten laws, made smaller
statutory changes, issued new court rules, implemented pretrial programs), and in
states that will make such changes in the near future, like New Jersey?
In doing this research, Jones proposed three broad research strategies or approaches:
Interface with the Law. Jones noted that pretrial practice requires balancing what he calls
the “Three M’s” – maximizing release, maximizing public safety, and maximizing court
appearance. “It’s important as we research remedies,” Jones said, “that we balance all
three simultaneously. Research that looks at one or two is not as helpful as research that
looks at all three.” As an example, Jones noted that while pretrial detention might maximize
public safety and court appearance, it may not in some cases be legally permissible, thus
failing the legally mandated goal to maximize release.
A Search for Nontraditional Solutions. Jones encouraged research that might uncover
entirely different processes to solve some of the problems in pretrial. Specifically, decisionmakers and professionals who work in the justice system can look to remedy system
problems using solutions from outside of the justice system, such as opportunities arising
from the Affordable Care Act or crime prevention strategies like Blueprints for Violence
Prevention.
Shrinking the System. Jones proposed research that could reduce the number of individuals
in the criminal justice system in order to improve the quality of justice. Whether achieved
through diversion, decriminalization of certain offenses, prevention, or investment in youth
and families, Jones said, research could provide ways to enable us to downsize the system.
In his words, “Research may show that some of the problems that we see in our criminal
justice system with ineffectiveness and inefficiencies will remedy themselves just because
the system will have more time to improve its quality because it’s not so overburdened with
the quantity.”
The Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Marc Levin directs the
nonprofit Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative, a public policy program that
promotes conservative ideas about criminal justice. He brought five research ideas to the table:
Create a 50-state report on the existing pretrial justice landscape. Such a report would
identify which states have statutes or regulations that create barriers to non-financial
forms of release and decision-making informed by risk. Digging deeper, a report could
identify pretrial practices in key counties that would examine—even in states without
statutory barriers to implementing non-financial forms of release and decision-making
informed by risk—what local cultural or institutional barriers may be present.
Identify representative jurisdictions for which data are available to produce a report
on revocations from pretrial supervision, including separating out the number due to
technical violations versus alleged new offenses. Such a study would explore how reforms
implemented in many probation departments, such as (i) the use of swift, certain, and
commensurate sanctions; (ii) avoiding the use of unnecessary conditions unrelated to
the individual’s offense or risk factors; (iii) use of positive incentives; and (iv) strategies
to expedite case processing to reduce the period of pretrial supervision, could be used
to significantly reduce pretrial supervision revocations. “You’re getting such a maze of
conditions,” Levin said, “that you can’t really enforce the ones that are important because
there are so many.”
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Study the impact of prompt appointment of counsel on pretrial detention through
assembling data from jurisdictions such as King County, Washington, and Miami-Dade
County, Florida, that have implemented mechanisms for expediting appointment of counsel
upon arrest. “What we see in a lot of jurisdictions is that there is a hearing on the bail
amount and the prosecutor is telling the judge they should raise the amount,” Levin said,
“and there is no one there representing the defendants. No one is there to bring out facts
about the defendant that may suggest there are lower risks.”
Examine the use of adult civil citation in Florida and the potential it may offer for reducing
jail use, including exploring what percentage of arrests this could avoid, the effectiveness
of civil citation in deterring future criminal behavior, and the cost savings that are
achievable.
Study the impact of the decision-maker and whether they are subject to electoral
influences. In jurisdictions with elected judges, magistrates could be empowered to make
such decisions. More frequent delegation of pretrial decision-making from elected judges
could lead to decisions that are more objective, not only in the context of the initial
hearings but also in the context of revocation. For example, the pretrial supervision agency
could be given greater authority to impose sanctions short of jailing an individual up until
the trial date, such as imposing a weekend in jail, which might lead to fewer revocations.
Levin offered further potential topics of study, such as studies on the role of collateral in
lieu of or as a portion of a money bond as an incentive to appear in court, and studies on
the impact of having a prosecutor on duty at jails to evaluate cases as police bring them in,
allowing for quick release if they have no interest in prosecuting the individual. “We can all
agree that there are people in jail that don’t need to be in jail, particularly people who are
indigent,” Levin concluded. “By the same token, we need to make sure we are doing the right
assessments and protecting the public.”
Vera Institute of Justice. The Vera Institute is a nonprofit organization that seeks to make
justice systems fairer and more effective through research and innovation. Jim Parsons, its
Vice President and Research Director, raised three areas of study the Institute deems critically
important, elaborating on each with specific research questions and methodologies.
Strengthening risk assessment tools and guarding against the unintended consequences
of structured decision-making. “Risk assessment instruments can perpetuate bias because
the things that predict risk are often correlated with race for systemic reasons,” Parsons
said. “In many places, it’s easier to get arrested for the same behavior if you are a person
of color.” The concern then becomes, in Parsons’s words, “If something predicts an outcome
that we care about such as reoffending or failure to appear, but for systemic reasons
disproportionally affects a community, is it legitimate to use that as a way of making
decisions that will have fundamental impacts on that person’s life?”
Study questions around the development and use of risk assessment tools could include:
What racial and socioeconomic biases are latent in assessing risk based on a defendant‘s
prior criminal history and past contacts with the criminal justice system? Do we need to
reach consensus about how we define racial bias in this context?
How do we assess the extent to which risk assessment effectuates racial and ethnic bias?
What steps do we take to address that bias by using statistical techniques to pull out the
impact of racial identity when designing tools?
To what extent should we accept that correcting risk assessment tools for latent bias will
impact their validity? What is the appropriate balance between maximizing predictive
power and safeguarding against bias?

28

What are the challenges related to exporting tools validated for one jurisdiction to
another?

When do tools need to be revalidated and what is the procedure for doing so?
How do judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other justice officials use the results of
risk assessments and how can their impact be quantified for study?
Limiting the use of pretrial supervision to the least restrictive and effective manner
possible by tailoring services to needs. The goal of pretrial supervision, in Parsons’ view, is
to “treat people in the least restrictive way so that they will appear in court and will be less
likely to commit new offenses in the pretrial period.” While risk assessment tools provide
some measure of these factors, Parsons encouraged Roundtable participants to think of
risk more broadly. “The risk of re-arrest and the risk that a defendant will fail to appear
in court are only two of a range of important factors that should be considered when
determining appropriate forms of pretrial supervision,” Parsons suggested. “The existence
of family and job supports, a person‘s behavioral health needs, and the potential risk of
specific types of re-offense are a few of many factors that should be considered as part
of the pretrial supervision calculus.” In short, Parsons stated, “How do we supplement an
assessment of risk with an assessment of strength?”
He suggested the following further questions regarding the appropriate mix of pretrial
services:
What risk factors do we need to understand to assess appropriate pretrial supervision
services?
What are the health or social services needs that, if addressed, will mitigate the risk of
reoffending or failing to appear in court?
How can jurisdictions collect the multi-faceted data needed to make informed decisions
about pretrial supervision, given constrained resources and the limitations inherent to
working in courts and police stations?
What services are needed to meet different combinations of risk and need? How can
these services build upon existing contacts with services and support networks in the
community?
What are the potential improvements in outcomes for jurisdictions that incorporate
non-traditional services such as providing behavioral health services, assistance with
obtaining public benefits, workforce development opportunities, or childcare during court
and other appearances?
Would a low-cost supervision option be sufficient to ensure appearance in court?
How can pretrial services be developed that specifically adapt to and meet the needs of
the increasing numbers of women and girls in the criminal justice system?
Documenting the specific impacts of pretrial detention as a tool for reform. Research
has established the negative impact on those who are held in pretrial detention even for
very short periods of time. Little is known, however, about the factors that contribute to
these negative outcomes. Parsons suggested research into the mechanisms that cause
people to experience worse outcomes: “Research is needed to supplement the existing
knowledge base by exploring how pretrial detention affects family relationships, economic
opportunities, and other sources of stability and support that may impact conviction,
sentencing, and rates of re-arrest.” He posed the following questions for study:
How does pretrial detention impact defendants’ lives?
What are the mechanisms at play that cause pretrial detention to lead to future criminal
justice involvement?
What are the potential pathways between pretrial detention and future criminal
behavior?
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The American Bail Coalition. The American Bail Coalition is a non-profit industry policy
development association dedicated to ensuring that state governments adopt a system of best
practices that maximizes the release of criminal defendants awaiting trial and minimizes the
days between arrest and release through means that protect public safety. Nicholas Wachinski,
Esq., its Executive Director Emeritus, offered the following areas for study:
Wachinski offered three specific ideas for research, all of which fall into the third category
above – determining how to make the system more effective:
Micro-Analysis of the Jail Population to Determine Who is in Jail Awaiting Trial and
Why. Wachinski cautioned against an assumption that all defendants in the pretrial
phase are being held because they cannot afford their money bail. He encouraged
the Roundtable to look at what barriers, including monetary, non-monetary,
administrative, or other legal obstacles, hold a person in jail. Some of the potential
reasons he posited: Are people not posting bail because of lack of financial resources
or for some other reason? Are there probation holds based on a previous offense
keeping that person in jail pretrial? Is there a federal immigration hold? Does
the person lack the personal or societal connections to assist them with the bail
process and why? Are people being held because they owe criminal justice fines or
fees for pretrial supervision or other matters? Has bail not yet been set because
of administrative delays or the need to conduct risk assessment interviews? Is the
person in jail as part of a legal strategy in anticipation of a plea deal or sentence to
time served? What is the impact of substance abuse? Is the person subject to bail on
multiple charges or in multiple cases? What is the effect of mandatory bond amounts
in state statutes that create a presumption against release? “Each one of these,”
Wachinski said, “should be examined as a catalog of what potentially holds people in
jail.”
Wachinski called for a study that “embraces a deeper analysis of these issues,
including a methodology that would take a sample of these cases where bond has
been set but not posted and get involved at the file level to collect more meaningful
criminal justice data as to the reasons the bail was not posted.”
Studies Focusing on the Economic Incentives of Various Release Mechanisms.
Wachinski proposed updating and expanding a 2004 study that investigated the
various economic incentives provided by different forms of release. In that study,
the researchers specifically focused on cases where a third-party bail agent posted
the bond for an accused and, using statistical techniques, were able to estimate the
probabilities of failure and re-capture under various forms of release. “This research
is now over one decade old and is the only modern academic research on this topic,”
according to Wachinski. “The model used is sound, and could be replicated in various
local jurisdictions over larger data sets to indicate the probabilities of various forms
of release in terms of achieving the statutory goals of appearances and reduced time
at large as a fugitive.”
Comparative Analyses of Effectiveness of the Forms of Release. Noting a lack of
research that demonstrates the comparative success or failure of various forms of
bond types and conditions of release, Wachinski encouraged researchers to replicate
a study performed by Dr. Robert Morris of the University of Texas that embraced the
following research questions:
Do failure to appear rates vary across release mechanisms and if so, by how much?
Does recidivism/pretrial misconduct vary across release mechanisms and if so, by how much?
What are the additional court costs associated with failure to appear rates across release types?
What are the strongest predictors of failure to appear across each release mechanism?

30

Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Front-End of the Criminal Justice System. Wachinski
recommended a study performed by an economist on the various forms of release
that includes consideration of all the economic benefits and costs involved in release
from custody—cost of a new crime, cost of a failure to appear, cost to the state of
supervision, benefits of supervision, benefits of financial bails, benefits of court
deposit bails (10%), benefits and costs of surety bonds, costs and benefits of jails,
costs and benefits to the defendant, etc. Such research, Wachinski contended, “would
help guide a focus on the most cost-effective way to achieve the desired results in
light of all of the potential costs and benefits of making a particular decision as to
the form and conditions of release.”
Studies on the Forms of Release that are Most Effective for Individuals with
Substance Abuse and Alcohol Issues. According to Wachinski, no current academic
studies focus on the issue of what form of release will be the most effective in cases
where the accused has a severe substance abuse or alcohol problem. Such research
would focus on the types of release that are most effective in terms of failure to
appear, fugitive and recovery rates, and recidivism and pretrial misconduct rates
when dealing with the specific population of those suffering from drug and alcohol
addictions. Wachinski detailed an innovative program being developed by the bail
industry called an “addiction bond,” a diversionary program that lasts for 12 months
and is especially tailored to heroin addiction. Instead of guaranteeing a defendant’s
appearance at trial, the bail bondsman guarantees the defendant’s appearance at
treatment, reporting such to the court at 30 day intervals.

B. Submissions from the Field
In addition to the representatives from the four organizations who presented at the Roundtable,
seven other entities or individuals with a stake in pretrial criminal justice research submitted
recommendations for research, which are set out below:
Council of State Governments Justice Center. The Council of State Governments Justice Center
is a national nonprofit organization that provides nonpartisan advice and evidence-based
strategies to increase public safety to policymakers at local, state, and federal levels and in all
branches of government. Hallie Fader-Towe, Senior Policy Advisor, together with research advisor
Dr. Alex Holsinger, proposed the following ideas for study related to the need to respond to
individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues at the pretrial stage:
Are there any conditions under which a mental health indicator is a predictor for
pretrial failure?
What definitions of “mental health” are in use by different jurisdictions?
What policies/processes are in place to establish whether an individual meets this definition?
How does this factor relate to risk of failure to appear or new criminal activity or violent activity?
Are there any conditions under which a substance abuse indicator is a predictor for
pretrial failure?
What definitions of “substance abuse” are in use by different jurisdictions?
What policies/processes are in place to establish whether an individual meets this definition?
How does this factor relate to risk of failure to appear or new criminal activity or violent activity?
Are there different treatment and/or supervision strategies that are shown to reduce
pretrial failure and increase connection to care among those with behavioral health needs?
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Justice Research and Statistics Association. The Justice Research and Statistics Association
is a national nonprofit organization of state Statistical Analysis Center directors and other
researchers and practitioners throughout government, academia, and the justice community
who are dedicated to the use of research and analysis to make informed policy and program
decisions. Dr. Jeffrey Leigh Sedgwick, its Executive Director, provided the following topics for a
national research agenda:
Does it make sense to think in terms of a “national research agenda on pretrial
justice”? “In the case of Pretrial Justice, participants include law enforcement,
prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judicial officers at the federal, state, local, and
tribal levels,” Sedgwick wrote, “hence we might well want to reconceptualize the
problem as one of supporting a robust and varied mix of research agendas, better
to disseminate and institutionalize an evidence-based culture in varied settings and
among varied actors.”
How should we define “success” in the context of risk pretrial risk assessment
instruments? “At first glance, it seems quite reasonable to define success as the
absence of failure to appear for the scheduled court date and/or re-arrest for further
criminal violations prior to adjudication,” Sedgwick wrote. But risk assessment tools
can produce both false positives (an incorrect prediction that an individual will fail
to appear or will be arrested for another offense prior to adjudication) and false
negatives (an incorrect prediction that an individual may be safely released to the
community without failing to appear or being arrested for another offense prior to
adjudication). Accordingly, in Sedgwick’s view, “In important ways that ought to be
made explicit, risk assessment in pretrial justice is thus fundamentally an issue of the
equitable distribution of cost or burden between the defendant and the community.”
How good are the data that we currently have to construct risk assessment scales
and how can we get better data? Much research on pretrial risk assessment
instruments has been based on limited samples sizes drawn from limited
jurisdictions. This research isn’t necessarily applicable the thousands of counties and
jails in the United States. This number of geographically dispersed decision points
raises the following research issues or needs, according to Sedgwick:
Data need to be collected from a very large number of sites; and
Pretrial risk assessment instruments need to be validated for that same large number of sites.
What do we currently know about the service inventory available to those released
or diverted from pretrial custody and the “dosage level” appropriate for each level of
risk among a population of individuals under charge? “Collecting this data requires
broadening the scope of data collection and puts a premium on established and
sustainable data access at a convenient point of collection,” Sedgwick wrote. In his
view, one strategy for encouraging sustainable policy change at the local level would
be to “harness the data access of state Statistical Analysis Centers and the leverage
of State Administering Agencies (who distribute federal justice assistance funds).”
What are the strategies by which discretionary judgment by prosecutors and judges
can be made more transparent or its use be limited on a sustained basis in order
to reduce disparity in treatment of those under charge? “There may be no more
intractable problem in criminal and juvenile justice research than the lack of data
on how prosecutors and judges exercise discretion in the disposition of cases,”
according to Sedgwick. “Successful implementation of pretrial risk assessment
instruments will require a much greater level of understanding of how prosecutors
and judges reach their decisions, and how to influence those decisions.”

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National Center for Victims of Crime. The National Center for Victims of Crime advocates for
stronger rights, protections, and services for victims of crime. It proposed three areas of inquiry:
Victim’s Vulnerability. The Center identified the following research questions in this area:
To what extent are victims vulnerable to further victimization from the offender?
To what extent are victims vulnerable to offender manipulation, harassment, or intimidation
designed to lead the victim to drop charges or disengage from the criminal justice system?
Secondary research questions under this heading could include:
Are there certain crimes for which this is more or less likely?
To what extent does pretrial release decision-making take this into account?
What is the variability by victim demographic characteristics?
Does retaining the offender in custody sometimes create greater risk? If so, under what
circumstances? What is the danger posed by release?
Do victims have time to relocate or take safety precautions prior to release?
How does victim cooperation with the criminal justice system differ in cases with pretrial release
vs. those without, controlling for crime type and offense seriousness?
Potential methodologies for examining these questions might include review of arrest records,
crime and incident reports, court records, and call for service history based on address, as well
as victim surveys and interviews and matched case analysis.
Victims’ Rights in the Pretrial Release Process. The Center proposed the following
research questions in this area:
To what extent do victims participate in the pretrial release decision-making and supervision
processes?
To what extent are victims provided notification throughout the pretrial release decision-making
and supervision processes?
To what extent does victim notification and participation influence victim willingness to remain
engaged with the criminal justice system?
Secondary research questions under this heading could include:
What is the effect of non-participation and participation on victims?
Do notification and participation lead to increased victim safety?
Are there standard operating procedures in place to provide for notification?
Does notification occur, either in the presence or absence of such policies?
How do pretrial release decisions affect safety planning?
Potential methodologies for examining these questions might include review of program
operating procedures, employee surveys, and victim surveys.
Effect of Victim-Offender Relationship. The Center listed the following research questions in this area:
What are the unique issues faced by victims who have children in common with their offenders?
How does victim-offender relationship affect pretrial release decisions and supervision?
Secondary research questions under this heading could include:
How are custody decisions and practices affected by pretrial release decisions and supervision?
What are the pretrial release differences between stranger, acquaintance, and intimate partner cases?
Potential methodologies for examining these questions might include review of statutes and court
records, as well as surveys of victims, advocates, and employees.

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The National Judicial College. The National Judicial College provides education to judges at all
levels of government. The Honorable Chad Schmucker, its President, emphasized that, when it
comes to pretrial release decisions, judges can be risk averse. “They may view a potential mistake
in a release decision as career-ending, should the defendant re-offend upon release as a result
of the judge’s decision not to detain.” The judges the College educates therefore need, Schmucker
wrote, “the most current data on the link between release, conditions imposed upon release,
and the actual risk to public safety.” He proposed research into judicial education around their
discretion-based pretrial release decisions, including elements of implicit bias and procedural
fairness – covering both how the process is perceived by the public and how judges reach
decisions.
NCJA Center for Justice Planning. The NCJA Center for Justice Planning is a cooperative effort
between the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the National Criminal
Justice Association to support state, tribal, and local efforts to institutionalize comprehensive
approaches to community-based strategic planning for justice. It offered research agenda
recommendations in six areas:
Victim Participation in the Pretrial Process. NCJA made the following proposals for
research in this area:
Process Evaluation:
Assess the degree to which victim rights are provided by pretrial programs
Determine feasibility of including victim-specific data in the risk assessment process
Assess the degree of utilization of actuarial risk assessments, such as the Ontario
Domestic Assault Risk Assessment, that calculate how a man who has assaulted
his female partner ranks among similar perpetrators with respect to risk and the
likelihood of re-assault
Assess the use and effectiveness of Statewide Automated Victim Notification Systems
in the pretrial process
Outcome Evaluation:
Measure the effect of victim participation in pretrial programs on pretrial release
decisions and outcomes, subsequent criminal proceedings, and victim’s wellbeing and perception of fairness during pretrial process and subsequent criminal
proceedings.
Risk Assessment Tools. NCJA made the following proposals for research in this area:
Are selective items in the current generation of risk assessment instruments (i.e. criminal history,
employment, contacts with the criminal justice system) racially or socio-economically biased,
and if so, what can be done to eliminate that bias without compromising predictive validity?
What is the long-term impact of pretrial risk assessment on racial disproportionality in jail and
other correctional settings?
How and to what degree is the risk assessment process and the determination of risk using a
structured instrument still influenced by practitioner discretion and subjective judgment?
How can individual bias in the risk assessment process be identified and addressed?
To what extent do pretrial release decisions and case management plans reflect the defendant’s
risk and needs identified through the risk assessment process?

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Data and Information Sharing. NCJA made the following proposals for research in
this area:
What are the systems used (hardware and software, and who controls) for accessing necessary
information for pretrial risk assessment?
What is the critical information needed to assess a jurisdiction’s current pretrial activity,
practice, and outcomes?
What are the biggest barriers (political and technological) to: (i) obtaining and accessing
accurate and timely risk assessment data; and (ii) collecting and analyzing data to assess
program impact and long term systemic change?
If data are not available or if there are gaps in certain areas of the state, could it become
accessible with technical assistance provided to localities?
What governance structures and agreements are in place and needed to obtain and share
criminal justice information?
Incorporating Prevention Using a Public Health Model. NCJA made the following
proposals for research in this area:
What lessons can be learned from applying prevention strategies that change community norms
to pretrial services?
Where are the connections between prevention and pretrial reform?
What research is available to show the impact of prevention programs and future criminal justice
contact and pretrial outcomes?
Establishing the Knowledge Base for Sustained Reform. NCJA made the following
proposals for research in this area:
What training and technical assistance and tools do states and local jurisdictions need to
advance pretrial reform?
What are the costs associated with implementing pretrial reform efforts?
What are the most effective governance structures and agreements for advancing and
sustaining pretrial reform efforts?
What are best practice strategies for consulting and engaging the public in pretrial reform
efforts?
Assessing Community Values and Expectations. NCJA made the following proposals
for research in this area:
What are citizen expectations for their justice system and specifically pretrial services (e.g.,
parsimony, retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation)? How do citizen expectations impact pretrial
services? How can the public best be engaged in designing pretrial responses?
Identify and compile public opinion surveys about components of the justice system and
address those gaps.

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Professor Shima Baradaran Baughman, College of Law, University of Utah. Professor Baughman
is a national expert on bail and pretrial prediction whose current scholarship examines criminal
justice policy, prosecutors, drugs, search and seizure, international law and terrorism, and race
and violent crime. She proposed the following recommendations focusing on pretrial release for
the research agenda:
Research on the impact of the right to counsel on the bail decision.
Research on the impact of providing neutral information to a judge by pretrial services on
the bail release decision.
National training of state and federal court judges on the current research and best
practices in pretrial decision-making, to include training of federal judges on how to
properly apply federal standards that mandate that the majority of defendants should be
presumptively released.
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition conducts policy research
and analysis on issues impacting the criminal and juvenile justice systems, with an overall
goal to reduce the state’s over-reliance on incarceration. Leah Pinney, its Executive Director,
recommended the following areas for study:
A thorough examination of the full system utilization costs of a pretrial release program
reliant on commercial bail vs. a pretrial release program that relies on risk assessments
and supervision performed by a pretrial services agency.
As part of the Jones v. City of Clanton litigation in the federal courts in Alabama, the City
of Clanton agreed to release all defendants charged with a misdemeanor offense on
unsecured bond unless they had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear. This raises
the following questions for study:
What is the impact of a categorical presumption of release on the risk assessment model?
Could a hybrid model that presumes release for certain categories of lower-level offenses and
utilizes a universal risk assessment tool be as effective as a pure risk assessment model?
If so, which lower-level offenses would be best included for presumptive release?

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Part V

A Call For Action:
A Proposed National
Research Agenda
“If you change the front end of the system,
you change the system.”
Leah Garabedian, Esq.
Defender Counsel
National Legal Aid & Defender Association
To close the Roundtable, President Travis, together with Matt Alsdorf, Director of Criminal Justice
for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, began the work of narrowing down, categorizing, and
prioritizing the dozens of recommendations for research that had originated during the gathering.
“At the end of today, our hope is that we will have garnered from you in our conversation some
actionable ideas in terms of a research agenda on pretrial issues broadly defined,” Travis stated.
His goal was to identify those projects that could draw public attention, advance thinking, and
improve practice in pretrial in the near term: “In three to five years, we should be able to say: ‘We
have done things that have made a difference.’”
As an overarching framework to such an agenda, Travis provided four research touchstones:
1. Values and Mission. How is the criminal justice system supposed to benefit society? What
is the mission of this complicated set of agencies and their exercise of discretion? How do we
measure whether those overarching values have been achieved? Under this heading, participants
raised issues of safety, community, legitimacy and public trust, procedural justice, racial justice,
liberty and the social contract, the equitable distribution of risk, proportionality of punishment,
parsimony, the presumption of innocence, and equal protection.
2. Data. How can we better describe the operations of the system? What data do we need for
analytical, predictive, and instrumental purposes? Who has the data and how can it be mined?
For descriptive purposes, participants noted the need for a uniform set of definitions, a need to
map the landscape of data systems in the country, the need to ensure data quality, and the costs
of building data infrastructure. For analytical purposes, participants discussed the need for cost/
benefit analyses and studies that consider and compare variations in data over time, between
jurisdictions, and amongst decision-makers.
3. Effectiveness. What works? How do we measure the effectiveness of the various systems
and decision-makers that make up the pretrial stages? What research can we conduct to achieve
system goals like reducing pretrial detention, removing racial bias, improving decision-making at
the pretrial release stage, and addressing public health issues like substance abuse and serious
mental illness that impact the criminal justice system?

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4. Methods and Implementation. Who can perform such research? How do we advance and
implement evidence-based change borne out by research to achieve better outcomes? How
do we provide outreach and education to policymakers and decision-makers? Participants
mentioned the possibility of building research consortiums or research centers, working to enact
legislation, leveraging the resources of state coalitions, and engaging professional associations
and the public. As research methods, demonstration projects, randomized control experiments,
and legal research were suggested.
Questions for Research. Ultimately, the suggestions raised by these overarching touchstones
must be boiled down into a research agenda. What follows are topics for study, categorized by
pretrial phases or overarching system goals. A more detailed summary of the research questions
raised by Roundtable participants is at Appendix B.

The Pretrial Landscape
Studies that Provide an Overview of Existing Practices and Outcomes

Law Enforcement
Studies on Individual and Organizational Behavior and its Impact on Outcomes
Studies on Policing and Racial Bias
Studies on Arrest and Alternatives to Initial Police-Citizen Interactions

Charging and Prosecutorial Discretion
Studies on Prosecutorial Discretion in Charging, Diversion, and Bail Decisions
Studies on the Impact Prosecutors Have on Case Processing
Studies on Prosecutorial Discretion and Racial Bias

Role of Defense Counsel
Studies on the Availability of Defense Counsel
Studies on the Impact of Defense Counsel on Outcomes at Various Pretrial Stages

Risk Assessment Tools
Studies on the Validity and Validation of Risk Assessment Tools
Studies on the Development of Risk Assessment Tools for Defendants Charged with Domestic
Violence and DUI
Studies on the Adoption and Use of Risk Assessment Tools by Decision-makers
Studies on Risk Assessment Tools and the Potential for Embedded Racial Bias
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Pretrial Release and Supervision
Comparative Analyses of Effectiveness of Various Forms of Release
Studies on the Impact of Bail on Release, FTA and Public Safety
Studies on Efficacy of Types of Supervision on Failure to Appear and Public Safety
Studies on Incentives to Ensure Pretrial Supervision Compliance
Cost-Benefit Analyses of Pretrial Release Forms vs. Pretrial Detention

Pretrial Detention
Micro-Analysis of the Jail Population to Determine Who is in Jail Pretrial and Why
Studies on the Reasons Why Pretrial Detention Leads to Negative Outcomes

Case Processing
Studies that Provide the Following Information on Case Processing:
Basic descriptive research that develops data-based typologies of case processing policies,
practices, and outcomes in different levels of courts and different socio-political environments
Comparative analysis that contrasts processes in jurisdictions with optimal and less optimal
practices
Assessments of the effectiveness of innovations designed to increase the fairness and
timeliness of case processing and the legitimacy and proportionality of outcomes
Studies that Assess Experiments with Changes in Procedural and Substantive Criminal Law and the
Introduction of New Case Processing Practices

Judicial Discretion
Studies to Assess How Judges Exercise their Discretion
Studies on Judicial Education to Improve Decision-Making
Studies on Judicial Discretion and Racial Bias

Disposition
Studies to Evaluate a Full Range of Disposition Options and to Build the Infrastructure Necessary to
Support Them, e.g.:
Behavioral Health Pathways
Triaging Minor Offenses
Restorative Justice
Offender Mediation
Individually Designed Sentences

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Victims’ Rights / Community Impact
Studies Assessing the Level of Victim Participation in the Pretrial Process and its Impact on Outcomes
Studies Evaluating the Impact of Pretrial Decisions on Victims

Prevention and Public Health
Studies to Evaluate a Public Health Model of Crime Prevention, Considering the Needs of the Seriously
Mentally Ill and Individuals with Substance Abuse and Alcohol Issues

Dissemination and Adoption of Research-Based Practices
Studies on the Dissemination of Innovation and the Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices
Studies on Implementation of Evidence-Based Best Practices

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APPENDIX A

Participants’ Biographies
Rachel Barkow is the Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy and the Faculty Director of
the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at NYU. In June 2013, the Senate confirmed her as
a Member of the United States Sentencing Commission. Since 2010, she has also been a member of
the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel. Professor Barkow
teaches courses in criminal law, administrative law, and constitutional law. In 2013, she was the recipient
of the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. The Law School awarded her its Podell Distinguished Teaching
Award in 2007. Her scholarship focuses on applying the lessons and theory of administrative and
constitutional law to the administration of criminal justice. She has written more than 20 articles and
is recognized as one of the country’s leading experts on criminal law and policy. Barkow has testified
before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce,
Trade, and Consumer Protection; and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. She has also presented her
work to the National Association of Sentencing Commissions Conference, the Federal Judicial Center’s
National Sentencing Policy Institute, and the Judicial Conference of the Courts of Appeals for the
First and Seventh Circuits. After graduating from Northwestern University (B.A. ’93), Barkow attended
Harvard Law School (’96), where she won the Sears Prize. She served as a law clerk to Judge Laurence
H. Silberman on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Barkow was an
associate at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans in Washington, D.C.
Saurabh Bhargava is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University. His research
resides at the intersection of Economics and Psychology (Behavioral Economics) with a particular focus
on questions with relevance to public policy. Recent projects have examined whether consumers are
able to make sensible health insurance choices, why eligible individuals fail to claim social benefits such
as the EITC, the psychological causes of long-term unemployment, the role of insurance incentives and
their complexity on behavior, how perceptual biases influence judicial sentencing (and speed dating!),
and the factors that determine happiness. This research has been published in journals such as the
American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal, the Review of Economics and Statistics,
and Psychological Science, and has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, NPR,
Bloomberg, New York Magazine, and CNBC. Prior to joining CMU, Dr. Bhargava taught at the Booth School
of Business at the University of Chicago and was a consultant at McKinsey & Co.
Barbara Broderick was selected to be the Chief Probation Officer of the Maricopa County Adult Probation
Department in December 2000. From June 2005 to August 2006, she served as Interim Chief Juvenile
Probation Officer for Maricopa County. Prior to that, Broderick was the State Director for Adult Probation
for the Arizona Supreme Court. In that position, she provided technical assistance to local jurisdictions
and substance abuse treatment providers. She is knowledgeable in the areas of risk assessment,
probation performance measures, drug courts, parole guidelines, substance abuse treatment with
criminal defendants, sex offender supervision, enforcement of financial obligations, and the theory and
practice of community justice. Prior to joining the Arizona judicial system, Broderick was the New York
State Director of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. She has been involved with the development
and expansion of drug courts and substance abuse treatment, the design and implementation of an
operational review process for the oversight of fifteen probation departments, and the development
of probation performance measures in her current home state. Broderick serves as chair of the Arizona
Parents’ Commission on Drug Education and Prevention and on the Maricopa County Community Justice
Advisory Board. She is the past President of the American Probation and Parole Association and is a
member of the American Corrections Association, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals,
and the National Association of Probation Executives. Broderick earned her B.A. in History at Niagara
University and her M.A. at the School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany.

41

John T. Chisholm is the District Attorney of Milwaukee County. His office handles criminal cases for the
State of Wisconsin in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. As District Attorney, Chisholm organizes his
office to work closely with neighborhoods through his nationally recognized Community Prosecution
program. He designed a Child Protection Advocacy Unit to better serve child victims, formed a Public
Integrity Unit to focus on public corruption matters and a Witness Protection Unit to thwart attempts
to intimidate victims and witnesses of crime. He helped start the drug treatment court and participated
in Milwaukee County’s selection as a seed site for the National Institute of Corrections’ Evidence Based
Decision Making framework. Chisholm is an Army Veteran and worked with the Veterans’ Administration
and collaborative partners to establish resources for veterans who encounter the criminal justice system
in Milwaukee County, resulting in the opening of the Veterans Treatment Initiative and Treatment Court.
He is past chair of the Milwaukee County Community Justice Council and currently chairs the Washington
D.C. based Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
John T. Chisholm sits on numerous boards including the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, Safe
& Sound, and the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area board. He is a graduate of Marquette
University and the University of Wisconsin Law School.
Elyse Clawson is a founder and Principal for Justice System Partners and brings over 30 years of
experience in both executive level roles in correctional agencies and as a nationally recognized
consultant. She specializes in criminal and juvenile justice system reform at the state and local level, and
is known for her innovative approaches to complex problems. Previously, Clawson was Executive Director
for the Crime and Justice Institute for 13 years. She led the team that developed the Integrated Model for
Evidence Based Practices for the National Institute of Corrections, which is now widely used across the
country. Prior to CJI, Clawson was Executive Director of Multnomah County Department of Community
Justice, where she assisted elected officials and partners in the development of countywide criminal
and juvenile justice policy. In this role, she was able to substantially reduce juvenile detention and jail
bed usage, and racial and ethnic disparities through pretrial supervision practices and an administrative
sanctions system for probation. Clawson implemented evidence based programming in both the adult
and juvenile divisions of the department. As Assistant Director for the Oregon Department of Corrections,
she developed several pieces of legislation to reform community corrections, and implemented a risk
assessment system in community corrections, administrative sanctions, and evidence based reentry
programs. Clawson has been a consultant to elected officials, state and local leaders on policy and
practice reform. She has led planning at the system and organizational level, provided leadership
coaching, organizational change, and implementation assistance. She has overseen several large-scale
reform efforts, both as a consultant and as an agency leader, and has a comprehensive understanding of
the complexities to consider in developing new models and frameworks for doing business.
Mona Danner is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University in Norfolk,
Virginia. Social inequalities, crime control policies, pretrial justice, and globalization comprise her primary
research and teaching interests. With Dr. Marie VanNostrand of Luminosity, she recently completed
Risk-Based Pretrial Release Recommendation and Supervision Guidelines: Exploring the Effect on
Officer Recommendations, Judicial Decision-Making, and Pretrial Outcome. Dr. Danner has presented
at conferences throughout the U.S., in Europe, Latin America, Australia, and at the NGO Forum held in
conjunction with the 1995 United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, China. She regularly conducts
workshops on issues for women in academia and on the process of negotiating academic contracts. A
reviewer for numerous scholarly journals, she has served as associate editor or on the editorial board of
four journals, and as a reviewer for NIJ and NSF grants and for departmental and graduate programs, in
addition to having held a number of administrative positions including Associate Dean at ODU. Dr. Danner
has published op-eds, been featured in television and radio interviews, and been quoted by the popular
print media.

42

Leah Garabedian serves as Defender Counsel for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. Through
policy advocacy, strategic alliances, and training and technical assistance, she works to promote the
critical importance of public defense and to support public defenders in their pursuit of justice for
all. NLADA has recently been named the training and technical assistance (TTA) provider for the Smart
Defense Initiative, part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s “Smart Suite.” As the TTA lead for Smart
Defense, Garabedian will work with five defender sites across the country, collaborating with diverse and
impressive teams, to build and implement evidence based, data driven solutions to improve the quality
of public defense representation. She brings a diverse range of experience, having practiced criminal
law for six years, first with the Missouri State Public Defender and then in private practice on trial and
appellate cases in both federal and state court. As Senior Associate with the Pew Charitable Trusts,
Garabedian worked on public policy and legislative reform, providing technical assistance under the
Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative. Garabedian has a B.A. in Philosophy from
Colgate University and a J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of Law.
Michael Jones is the Director of Implementation for the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI), where he has
worked since 2010. At PJI, he directs the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Smart Pretrial Demonstration
Initiative, oversees training and technical assistance for states, localities, and various stakeholder
organizations, and assists states and local jurisdictions in understanding and implementing more legal
and empirically-based pretrial policies and practices by designing strategic, system-change initiatives,
delivering technical assistance, performing empirical research, and publishing resource materials. Dr.
Jones also works as a technical resource provider for the National Institute of Corrections, and previously
served as the Criminal Justice Planning Manager for Jefferson County, Colorado, for nine years. He
received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Marc A. Levin, Esq., is the director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation
and Policy Director of its Right on Crime initiative. In 2010, Levin developed the concept for the Right on
Crime initiative, which has become the national clearinghouse for conservative criminal justice reforms.
Levin has testified on sentencing reform and solitary confinement at separate hearings before the
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and has testified before legislatures in states such as Texas, Nevada,
Kansas, Wisconsin, and California. In 2007, he was honored in a resolution unanimously passed by the
Texas House of Representatives that stated, “Mr. Levin’s intellect is unparalleled and his research is
impeccable.” Levin served as a law clerk to Judge Will Garwood on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit and Staff Attorney at the Texas Supreme Court.
James P. Lynch is professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at
the University of Maryland and director of the Maryland Data Analysis Center. Dr. Lynch joined the
department after serving as the director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the United States
Department of Justice. Previously, he was a distinguished professor in the Department of Criminal Justice
at John Jay College, City University of New York. He was a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and
Society at American University from 1986 to 2005 and chair of that department from 2003 to 2005. Dr.
Lynch’s research focuses on victim surveys, victimization risk, the role of coercion in social control, and
crime statistics. He has published four books and numerous articles, many of them dealing with crime
statistics. He was vice president-elect of the American Society of Criminology and currently is presidentelect of that association. He served on the Committee on Law and Justice Statistics of the American
Statistical Association. From 2008 to 2010 he was co-editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology.
Dr. Lynch received his B.A. degree from Wesleyan University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the
University of Chicago.

43

Barry Mahoney is a Denver-based researcher and consultant whose work focuses principally on court
and justice system operations. From 1993 to 2014 he was with The Justice Management Institute (JMI),
serving twice as JMI’s President (1993-2002 and 2008-2009). Since retiring from active work with JMI
in 2014, he has been doing research on bail, sentencing, and post-conviction supervision issues, and
occasionally taking teaching and consulting assignments. While with JMI, Dr. Mahoney developed and
led national scope and local jurisdiction projects in areas that include court delay reduction, pretrial
services, drug court planning and implementation, rural courts, assistance for self-represented litigants,
use of fines and other intermediate sanctions, and strengthening justice system operations to help
prevent the conviction of innocent persons. Before helping to found JMI in 1993, he was with the National
Center for State Courts and the Institute for Court Management for nineteen years. In earlier years,
Dr. Mahoney had extensive litigation experience handling criminal and constitutional law cases as an
Assistant Attorney General in New York State. He has been an Associate Director of the National Center
for State Courts; Director (twice) of the London Office of the Vera Institute of Justice; and Director of
Research at the Institute for Court Management. He is the author of numerous publications on justice
system operations and has led many educational programs in the U.S. and abroad. He is a graduate of
New York City public schools, Dartmouth College, and Harvard Law School, and holds a Ph.D. in Political
Science from Columbia University.
Anne Milgram is the Vice President of Criminal Justice at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Prior to joining the Arnold Foundation, Milgram served as New Jersey’s Attorney General, where she
headed the 9,000-person Department of Law and Public Safety. As New Jersey’s chief law enforcement
officer, she oversaw hundreds of prosecutors and approximately 30,000 law enforcement officers.
Milgram implemented a statewide program to improve public safety through prevention of crime, law
enforcement reform, and re-entry initiatives. She also served as a member of the United States’ Attorney
General’s Executive Working Group on Criminal Justice and as a co-chair of the National Association
of Attorneys General Criminal Law Committee. Prior to becoming Attorney General, Milgram served
as First Assistant Attorney General and, before that, was Counsel to a United States Senator. She also
previously served as a federal prosecutor in the Criminal Section of the United States Department of
Justice’s Civil Rights Division, prosecuting complex international sex trafficking, forced labor, domestic
servitude, and hate crimes cases. In 2004, Milgram became the lead federal prosecutor in the country
for human trafficking crimes. Milgram was also awarded the United States Department of Justice Special
Commendation for Outstanding Service and the United States Department of Justice Director’s Award.
She began her prosecution career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s
office. She graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers and holds a masters of philosophy degree in social
and political theory from the University of Cambridge in England. She received her law degree from New
York University School of Law and clerked for United States District Court Judge Anne E. Thompson in
Trenton, New Jersey from 1996 to 1997. In addition to her work with the Laura and John Arnold Foundation,
Milgram serves as a Senior Fellow at the NYU Law School Center on the Administration of Criminal Law
and teaches a seminar course on Human Trafficking at the Law School. She is also a member of the
Covenant House International Board of Directors.
Jim Parsons serves as vice president and research director of Vera Institute of Justice. He is responsible
for shaping Vera’s research agenda and working closely with practitioners, government officials, and
partner institutions to implement research findings. Parsons joined Vera in March 2003. He previously
served as both the director of the Substance Use and Mental Health Program and research director of
the International Program. His work has included studies measuring the overlap of mental illness and
incarceration in New York City and Washington, D.C.; the provision of jail-to-community reentry services in
New York City and Los Angeles; an evaluation of the implementation and impacts of drug law reforms in
New York City; and an ongoing study of the challenges that people with serious mental health disorders
face accessing effective legal defense representation. Parsons also directed Justice and Health Connect,
a federally funded initiative to improve information sharing as a tool for coordination between justice
and health systems. His international work includes a number of projects to develop and implement
empirical rule of law indicators for the UK Department for International Development and United Nations
Department for Peacekeeping Operations, and the American Bar Association. This work has included data
collection in Chile, Haiti, India, Liberia, Nigeria and South Sudan. For the past ten years, he has consulted
44

on justice reform projects in China. Prior to joining Vera, Parsons worked at the Center for Research on
Drugs and Health Behavior and the Institute for Criminal Policy Research in London, where he conducted
community studies of HIV prevalence among injecting drug users and evaluated needle exchange
programs and prison reentry services. He holds an MSc in social research methods from the University of
Surrey.
Jennifer M. Perez was appointed Director of Trial Court Services for the New Jersey Judiciary in May 2015,
and in this role she manages central office operations related to the Civil, Family, Criminal, Probation and
Automated Trial Court Services divisions. She also provides support and assistance to judges, managers,
and staff throughout the trial courts. In addition to policy and operational issues, Perez works in close
collaboration with members of the Information Technology Office (ITO) related to the development
of a web-based application for electronic filing, electronic case management, and electronic records
retention. Perez is a member of the Advisory Committee on Information Technology, as well as other
committees within the Judiciary. She was also a member of the Supreme Court’s Special Committee on
Electronic Filing, and a former member of the Advisory Committee on Public Access. Perez is a graduate
of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in International
Relations and Economics, and of Rutgers Law School in Camden, where she obtained her J.D. degree.
Perez began her career with the Judiciary as a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph M. Nardi, Jr., in the family
division of the Camden Vicinage. After a brief period practicing matrimonial law and civil litigation, she
returned to the Judiciary and has held management/court administration positions in the family and
civil divisions. Prior to becoming the Director of Trial Court Services, Perez was the Judiciary’s Chief of
the Automated Trial Court Services Unit from 2013 to 2015, where she oversaw the development and
implementation of eCourts for the Criminal and Tax Courts. She was also the Clerk of Superior Court from
2008 to 2013, responsible for foreclosure case processing, statewide judgment lien processing, electronic
access to court records in the Judiciary’s case management databases, and Superior Court records
management. Perez worked in the Camden Vicinage for over 10 years, first in the Family Division and then
as a Civil Division Manager.
Carol V. Petrie is currently a consultant working in the field of criminal justice research. Since 2010 she
has worked with Development Services Group (DSG Inc.) on a project for the Office of Justice Programs
and the National Institute of Justice. Prior to her retirement in 2009, she served as staff director of the
Committee on Law and Justice at the National Research Council, a position she held for twelve years.
During her tenure, she oversaw the development of over 20 National Research Council reports. Prior to
her work there, she was the director of planning and management at the National Institute of Justice,
responsible for policy development and administration. In 1994, she served as the acting director
of the National Institute of Justice. Throughout a 30-year career, she worked in the area of criminal
justice research, statistics, and public policy, serving as a project officer and in administration at the
National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and The District of Columbia Department of
Corrections. She has conducted research on violence, and managed numerous research projects on the
development of criminal behavior, policy on illegal drugs, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect,
transnational crime, and improving the operations of the criminal justice system. Early in her career she
worked as a High School English teacher in Camden, New Jersey, and Minot, North Dakota. She graduated
from Kent State University. While attending Kent State, she co-founded their collegiate branch of the
NAACP. Petrie’s other interests include choral singing, travel, volunteer work. And baseball.
Janice Radovick-Dean, currently the Director of the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania’s Pretrial
Services Department, began her career with the Allegheny County Probation Department in 1989. During
that time Dean has worked in the DUI Unit, the Electronic Monitoring Unit, and the County’s Drug Court
Program. In 2001, Dean aided in the creation of the Allegheny County Ignition Interlock Program, which is
one of the only County operated Programs in the state. In 2007, she was transferred to the newly created
Pretrial Services Department. Dean has been instrumental in the creation of policies and procedures
and to the overall changes made in the department and the Court. She holds degrees in Administration
of Justice and Criminology from the University of Pittsburgh. Dean serves as Immediate Past President of
the Pennsylvania Pretrial Services State Association, and serves as the Affiliate Director for the National
Association of Pretrial Services.

45

Carla Shedd is Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Columbia University.
Dr. Shedd received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. Her research and teaching
interests focus on: crime and criminal justice; race and ethnicity; law; inequality; and urban sociology.
Dr. Shedd’s first book, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice (October 2015, Russell
Sage), focuses on Chicago public school students, and is a timely examination of race, place, education,
and the expansion of the American carceral state. Dr. Shedd’s current research focuses on New York
City’s juvenile justice system, investigating how young people’s linked institutional experiences influence
their placement on and movement along the carceral continuum. Dr. Shedd has been published in the
American Sociological Review and Sociological Methods & Research, and she has received fellowships
from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
Faye S. Taxman, Ph.D., is a University Professor in the Criminology, Law and Society Department
and Director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence at George Mason University. She is
recognized for her work in the development of systems-of-care models that link the criminal justice
system with other service delivery systems, as well as her work in reengineering probation and parole
supervision services and in organizational change models. Her work covers the correctional system from
jails and prisons to community corrections, and adult and juvenile offenders. She has received grants
from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Justice, National Institute of Corrections,
Office of National Drug Control Policy and Bureau of Justice Assistance. She has active “laboratories”
with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. She developed the RNR
Simulation Tool. Dr. Taxman has published more than 155 articles, including “Tools of the Trade: A Guide
to Incorporating Science into Practice,” and “Implementing Evidence-Based Community Corrections
and Addiction Treatment” (Springer, 2012 with Steven Belenko). She is co-editor of the journal Health &
Justice. The American Society of Criminology’s Division of Sentencing and Corrections has recognized her
as Distinguished Scholar twice, and she is the recipient of the Rita Warren and Ted Palmer Differential
Intervention Treatment award. She has a Ph.D. from Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice.
John Scott Thomson was sworn in as chief of the Camden County Police Department on May 1, 2013. Prior
to that, he served as chief of the former Camden Police Department for five years. Chief Thomson has
been in law enforcement since 1992. He holds an M.A. in education from Seton Hall University and a B.A.
in sociology from Rutgers University. Chief Thomson ascended through the ranks of the Camden Police
Department, serving in various operational and investigative positions and commands and receiving
several commendations such as the Narcotic Detective of the Year in 1999 from the New Jersey County
Narcotic Commanders Association. He served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Special Committee on
Discovery in Criminal and Quasi-Criminal Matters. In 2011, Chief Thomson received the Gary P. Hayes
Award from the Police Executive Research Forum. He sits on the board of advisors for New York University
School of Law Center on the Administration of Criminal Law. Chief Thomson serves as an Executive Fellow
for the Police Foundation and sits on the board of directors for the Police Executive Research Forum in
Washington, D.C.
Jeremy Travis is president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. Prior
to his appointment, he served as a Senior Fellow in the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, where he
launched a national research program focused on prisoner reentry into society. From 1994-2000, Travis
directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to
his service in Washington, he was Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters for the New York City Police
Department (1990-1994), a Special Advisor to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch (1986-89), and Special
Counsel to the Police Commissioner of the NYPD (1984-86). Before joining city government, Travis spent
a year as a law clerk to then-U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He began his career
in criminal justice working as a legal services assistant for the Legal Aid Society, New York’s indigent
defense agency. He has taught courses on criminal justice, public policy, history, and law at Yale College,
the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York Law School, and George
Washington University. He has a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, an M.P.A. from the
New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale
College. He is the author of But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry (Urban
46

Institute Press, 2005), co-editor (with Christy Visher) of Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America (Cambridge
University Press, 2005), and co-editor (with Michelle Waul) of Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of
Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities (Urban Institute Press, 2003). He has
published numerous book chapters, articles, and monographs on constitutional law, criminal law, and
criminal justice policy.
Marie VanNostrand is an experienced practitioner, skilled researcher, and nationally recognized expert
in the pretrial phase of the criminal justice system. She has presented at national and statewide
conferences, participated in a congressional briefing, and presented at the U.S. Attorney General’s
symposium on pretrial justice. Dr. VanNostrand’s path to career fulfillment began with a strong desire
to make a difference. Her goal was to reshape the pretrial justice system by developing both risk
measurement and risk management strategies to ensure equal justice for all. In pursuit of this goal, she
has led the largest studies ever conducted on pretrial risk assessment, alternatives to detention, and
the impact of the pretrial release and detention decision. Over the course of her career, Dr. VanNostrand
also amassed an impressive list of academic credentials. She’s earned a Master’s Degree in Public
Administration, a second Master’s degree in Urban Studies and a Doctorate in Public Policy with a
specialty in research methods and statistics. Most impressively, she accomplished all this while working
full time in the field. Before cofounding Luminosity, Marie gained 15 years of experience serving as a
probation and parole officer, a pretrial services agency manager, and a criminal justice analyst. Her
unique combination of practical experience and educational achievements serve her well in her role as
Luminosity’s justice project manager. Her extensive subject matter expertise drives the company forward
on its continuing quest for a more equitable pretrial justice system.
Nicholas Wachinski is a lifelong resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He began his practice as
an attorney in 2006 with licensure in both the State of New Jersey and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
and has tried cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Federal Court. In addition to his service to the
American Bail Coalition, Wachinski currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Lexington National
Insurance Corporation in Maryland and serves as instructor for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Minor
Judiciary Education Board, being originally appointed in 2010. In his capacity as an instructor, he has the
privilege of teaching District Judges of Pennsylvania the rules/issues relating to bail, bail forfeitures,
bail revocations, and bench warrants. Mr. Wachinski was appointed an advisor to the Pennsylvania
General Assembly Joint State Government Commission in 2011 as part of an initiative to restructure the
First Judicial District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). Specifically, he advises on issues relating to the
establishment/revision of bail guidelines and the establishment of a system of best practices in bail
matters for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Wachinski frequently is called to provide advice/counsel
to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, members of the Pennsylvania Senate, Judges
and members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Committee on the issues of criminal procedure,
bail, , and court reform.
Judge Roger K. Warren is the President Emeritus of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), serving
as President of the NCSC from 1996 to 2004. He currently serves as a principal consultant to the NCSC
and its partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project. From 2005 to 2012,
Judge Warren served as Scholar-in-Residence with the Judicial Council of California, where he coordinated
the Judicial Council’s implementation of evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism and probation
performance incentive funding programs. He is the author of over a dozen works on evidence-based
sentencing and has conducted evidence-based practice training programs for judges and other criminal
justice practitioners in over 30 states. Previously, Judge Warren served for twenty years as a trial judge
in Sacramento, California, where he established Sacramento’s pretrial release program, and was the
Founder and First Chair of the Sacramento Criminal Justice Cabinet. He received the California Jurist of
the Year award in 1995, and Sacramento Judge of the Year awards in the years 1987, 1993, and 1994. He
also represented the California judicial branch on the California Constitution Revision Commission. Prior
to his appointment to the bench, Judge Warren served as Executive Director of Northern California Legal
Services. He graduated from Williams College and, following a Fulbright Fellowship to Iran, received a
Master’s Degree in Political Science and J.D. degree from the University of Chicago, where he served on
the Editorial Board of the University of Chicago Law Review.

47

Robert E. Worden is the director of the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety, Inc., and associate
professor of criminal justice at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He holds a Ph.D.
in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Worden’s interests revolve
around questions about the accountability and responsiveness of criminal justice institutions to the
public. Thus his work includes both basic research – concerned with explaining the behavior of criminal
justice actors in terms of political, organizational, and social influences – and applied research –
concerned with the implementation and outcomes (read: social benefits) of criminal justice policies and
programs; most of it focused on police behavior and police programs and reforms. His scholarship has
appeared in Justice Quarterly, Criminology, Law & Society Review, and other academic journals, and his
research has been funded by the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the New
York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and other sponsors. Dr. Worden served on the National
Research Council’s Committee to Review Research on Police Policies and Practices, whose report,
Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence, was published by the National Academies Press in
2004.

48

APPENDIX B

A Summary Of Research
Questions Raised By
Roundtable Participants
The Pretrial Landscape
Studies that Provide an Overview of Existing Practices and Outcomes
What is the existing statutory landscape of pretrial criminal justice in the United States?
What is causing the following trends in pretrial?
increase in the pretrial population
decrease in the use of release on recognizance (ROR)
increase in the use of secured bond
increase in the arrest to pretrial detention ratio
increase in simple assault and drug possession while crime overall is decreasing

Law Enforcement
Studies on Individual and Organizational Behavior and its Impact on Outcomes
How do individual officers exercise their discretion and how is variation in that exercise
patterned by officers’ backgrounds and characteristics?
What can we learn about the nature and impact of formal and informal characteristics of
police organizations on police efficacy and behavior, including their policies, procedures,
incentives and disincentives, workload, supervision, training, or peer group norms, as well as
bureaucratization, decentralization of authority, job specialization, geographic deployment,
and management accountability mechanisms?
What is the impact of forms of external oversight on police behavior, including that by local
elected officials, citizen oversight mechanisms like civilian review boards, and other structures
like police auditors?
How do department strategies or policies affect arrest priorities, arrest rates, and the
demographics of arrestees?

49

Studies on Policing and Racial Bias
What is the racial make-up of police departments as compared to the communities they
serve?
What impact does the racial make-up of a department have on outcomes like arrest?
How does the race of officers and how that intersects with the race of the citizens they police
change citizens’ assessment of police-citizen interactions?
What situational contexts lead to prejudicial behavior and who is prone to such bias?
Studies on Arrest and Alternatives to Initial Police-Citizen Interactions
How do police exercise their authority to arrest? What forces shape their behavioral patterns?
What are the determinants of officers’ choices to exercise forms of authority that are
associated with arrest, such as the use and misuse of physical force; decisions to frisk, search,
or ask for consent to search; and decisions to stop citizens?
What forces shape officers’ choices among non-arrest alternatives, such as warning, advising,
or referral to other social services?
By what metric can we measure crime prevention?

Charging and Prosecutorial Discretion
Studies on Prosecutorial Discretion in Charging, Diversion, and Bail Decisions
What factors influence a prosecutor’s decision to bring felony charges in a case?
Are particular charging guidelines used?
Is the charging decision based on the ultimate dispositional sentence available?
Is the charge made as leverage to be used in future plea negotiations?
Does the officer’s presentation of the case impact the charge?
Does the victim’s response affect prosecutorial decision-making?
What is the role of police in charging independent of prosecutors?
How is prosecutorial decision-making affecting the misdemeanor docket?
When and why do prosecutors dismiss misdemeanors?
What information do prosecutors have about the impact of case continuances when making
decisions about misdemeanor case management? Do they perform any kind of cost-benefit
thinking about the criminogenic impact of pretrial detention?
How do prosecutors make decisions about diversion?
Who do prosecutors think are eligible to participate in diversion? What level risk of offender can
and should be diverted?
Are there racial biases involved in how decisions to divert are being made?
Are people being required to plead guilty as a condition of diversion? How does that type of
model compare to one that does not require a guilty plea?
What kind of reward or incentive should be given to someone who participates in a diversion
program? Reductions in sentence? Outright dismissal? How is success measured?
What is the impact of statutory or policy bars to participation in diversion programs?
50

What influences prosecutors to make bail requests?
Is it based on charge severity, criminal history, and/or office policy or practice?
Can risk tools assist prosecutors in making bail requests?
What kind of system impact might be felt if prosecutors began to waive bail in certain cases?
Studies on the Impact Prosecutors Have on Case Processing
How do office procedures and systems impact case processing times and how
can these be improved?
What is the impact of junior vs. senior prosecutorial staff on case processing,
including requests for continuances?
Studies on Prosecutorial Discretion and Racial Bias
What is the impact of implicit or explicit bias in prosecutorial decisions on
charging, bail, and case processing?

Role of Defense Counsel
Studies on the Availability of Defense Counsel
How many people are facing a liberty decision in the United States without
appointed counsel?
Studies on the Impact of Defense Counsel on Outcomes at Various Pretrial Stages
Do outcomes change if defendants are provided counsel at first appearance
and how?
What is the impact of prompt appointment of counsel on pretrial detention
decisions?
What is the impact of right to counsel on bail decisions?

Risk Assessment Tools
Studies on the Validity and Validation of Risk Assessment Tools
What are the challenges related to exporting tools validated for one jurisdiction
to another?
When do tools need to be revalidated and what is the procedure for doing so?
Studies on the Development of Risk Assessment Tools for Defendants Charged with Domestic
Violence and DUI
Can tools be developed to assess risk for defendants charged with domestic
violence or driving under the influence? What factors predict and measure risk
of failure to appear (FTA) and re-offense in these contexts?
51

Studies on the Adoption and Use of Risk Assessment Tools by Decision-makers
How do judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and other justice officials
use the results of risk assessments and how can their actions and impact be
quantified for study?
How, and to what degree is the risk assessment process and the determination
of risk using a structured instrument still influenced by practitioner discretion
and subjective judgment?
Studies on Risk Assessment Tools and the Potential for Embedded Racial Bias
Are selective items in the current generation of risk assessment instruments
(i.e., criminal history, employment, contacts with the criminal justice system)
racially or socio-economically biased, and if so, what can be done to eliminate
that bias without compromising predictive validity?
What is the long-term impact of pre-trial risk assessment on racial
disproportionality in jail and other correctional settings?
How can individual bias in the risk assessment process be identified and
addressed?

Pretrial Release and Supervision
Comparative Analyses of Effectiveness of Various Forms of Release
Do failure to appear (FTA) rates vary across release mechanisms and if so, by
how much?
Does recidivism/pretrial misconduct vary across release mechanisms and if so,
by how much?
What are the strongest predictors of FTA across each release mechanism?
What is the impact of a categorical presumption of release on the riskassessment model? If so, which lower-level offenses would be best included for
presumptive release?
What legislative restrictions on pretrial release exist and what is their impact?
Studies on the Impact of Bail on FTA and Public Safety
Do secured bonds serve as a deterrent to FTA or pretrial criminal activity?
Studies on Efficacy of Types of Supervision on Failure to Appear and Public Safety
What release conditions are effective in reducing pretrial risk of FTA and new criminal activity, and
for which defendants?
What risk factors do we need to understand to assess appropriate pretrial supervision services?
To what extent do pre-trial release decisions and case management plans reflect the defendant’s
risk and needs identified through the risk assessment process?
What are the potential improvements in outcomes for jurisdictions that incorporate nontraditional services such as providing behavioral health treatment, assistance with obtaining
public benefits, workforce development opportunities, or childcare during court and other
appearances?
52

How can pretrial services be developed that specifically adapt to and meet the needs of the
increasing numbers of women and girls in the criminal justice system?

Studies on Incentives to Ensure Pretrial Supervision Compliance
Given the high costs of non-compliance, why do some defendants fail to comply
with pretrial conditions?
How can compliance with pretrial conditions be maximized?
How can messaging and reminders best be designed to ensure court
appearance?
Cost-Benefit Analyses of Pretrial Release Forms vs. Pretrial Detention
What are the comparative costs and benefits of pretrial release vs. detention,
considering all economic factors?
What are the comparative costs of pretrial release programs that rely on
commercial bail vs. those that rely on risk assessments and supervision
performed by a pretrial services agency?

Pretrial Detention
Micro-Analysis of the Jail Population to Determine Who is in Jail Pretrial and Why
For what other reasons besides inability to pay bail are people in jail, including
holds, nonpayment of criminal justice fines and fees, administrative delays,
legal strategy, or lack of social supports?
What is the effect of mandatory bond amounts in state statutes that create a
presumption against release?
Studies on the Reasons Why Pretrial Detention Leads to Negative Outcomes
What are the mechanisms at play that cause pretrial detention to lead to future
criminal justice involvement?

Case Processing
Studies that Provide the Following Information on Case Processing:
Basic descriptive research that develops data-based typologies of case
processing policies, practices, and outcomes in different levels of courts and
different socio-political environments
Comparative analyses that contrast processes in jurisdictions with optimal and
less optimal practices
Assessments of the effectiveness of innovations designed to increase
the fairness and timeliness of case processing and the legitimacy and
proportionality of outcomes
Studies to develop uniform definitions of case processing and pretrial terms to
assist in data collection and analysis across agencies and jurisdictions
Evaluation of the duration of the process in terms of both length in time and
number of scheduled court dates
An overview of the options available to relevant decision-makers at key stages
of the process

53

An overview of the options available to relevant decision-makers at key stages
of the process
Analysis of type and impact of restrictions and economic obligations is the
defendant under at various pretrial stages
Review of the landscape of pretrial case processing in lesser visibility courts
The impact of pretrial reform on pretrial release rates, FTA rates, and new
criminal activity rates in states that have made such changes (KY, DE, CO, HI),
and in states that will make such changes in the near future (NJ)
Studies that Assess Experiments with Changes in Procedural and Substantive
Criminal Law and the Introduction of New Case Processing Practices
De-criminalization of specific minor offenses
Elimination of mandatory minimum sentences
Elimination of reliance on surety bail
Increased use of risk assessment in pretrial decision-making
Use of alternatives to jail for non-criminal violation of release conditions
Rapid access to relevant behavioral health background information about
individuals
Active implementation of case processing time standards
Renewal and re-design of day fine experiments
Caps on maximum amounts of economic obligations that can be imposed on a
defendant
Procedures that can enable offenders facing unpayable economic obligations
imposed by the justice system to reduce the burden and start afresh
Alternative ways of providing legal advice/assistance to defendants, especially
in minor cases
Electronic recording of all proceedings in courts that handle minor offenses

Judicial Discretion
Studies to Assess How Judges Exercise their Discretion
What factors influence judicial decision-making in pretrial?
How can judicial decision-making be made more transparent?
How do electoral influences impact judicial decision-making?
Studies on Judicial Education to Improve Decision-Making
How can judges best be educated on the use of risk assessment tools?
How can judges be trained on current research and best practices in pretrial
decision-making?
Studies on Judicial Discretion and Racial Bias
What is the impact of implicit or explicit bias in judicial decisions on bail,
pretrial release, and case processing?
54

Disposition
Studies to Evaluate a Full Range of Disposition Options and to Build the
Infrastructure Necessary to Support Them, e.g.:
Behavioral Health Pathways
Triaging Minor Offenses
Restorative Justice
Offender Mediation
Individually Designed Sentences

Victims’ Rights / Community Impact
Studies Assessing the Level of Victim Participation in the Pretrial Process and
its Impact on Outcomes
To what extent are victim rights provided by pretrial programs?
To what extent is it feasible to include victim-specific data in the risk
assessment process?
What is the effect of victim participation in pretrial programs on pretrial release
decisions, outcomes, and subsequent criminal proceedings?
What is the effect of victim participation in pretrial programs on victims’ wellbeing and perception of fairness during the pretrial process and subsequent
criminal proceedings?
Studies Evaluating the Impact of Pretrial Decisions on Victims
To what extent do victims participate in the pretrial release decision-making
and supervision processes?
To what extent are victims provided notification throughout the pretrial release
decision-making and supervision processes?
To what extent does victim notification and participation influence victim
willingness to remain engaged with the criminal justice system?
To what extent are victims vulnerable to further victimization from the offender
during the pretrial process, and how does this impact victim participation?
Studies that Assess Community Values and Expectations
How do citizens view their encounters with police?
What are citizen expectations for their justice system, specifically pretrial
services, and how do these expectations impact pretrial procedures? Identify
and compile public opinion surveys about components of the justice system
and address gaps.
How best can the public be engaged in designing pretrial responses?

55

Prevention and Public Health
Studies to Evaluate a Public Health Model of Crime Prevention, Considering the
Needs of the Seriously Mentally Ill and Individuals with Substance Abuse and
Alcohol Issues
How are jurisdictions currently assessing mental health and substance abuse?
Are any jurisdictions using assessments for mental health, substance abuse,
and risk?
What definitions of “mental health” and “substance abuse” are in use by
different jurisdictions?
How do mental health and substance abuse factors relate to risk of failure to
appear and new criminal activity pending trial?
What forms of release are most effective for individuals with mental health,
substance abuse, and/or alcohol issues?
Can a public health model focused on treatment and prevention be used to
reduce crime? What research is available to show the impact of prevention
programs on future criminal justice contact and pretrial outcomes?

Dissemination and Adoption of Research-Based Practices
Studies on the Dissemination of Innovation and the Adoption of EvidenceBased Practices
What are the most effective governance structures and agreements for
advancing and sustaining pretrial reform efforts?
What are best practice strategies for consulting and engaging the public in
pretrial reform efforts?
How do you overcome barriers to change, such as a lack of trust across actors
and agencies?
Studies on Implementation of Evidence-Based Best Practices:
What training and technical assistance and tools do states and local
jurisdictions need to advance pretrial reform?
What are the costs associated with implementing pretrial reform efforts?

56

ENDNOTES
1. Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D., Arrest in the United States, 1980-2009 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sept. 2011),
available at http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/aus8009.pdf.
2. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Correctional Populations of the United States, available at http://www.bjs.
gov/index.cfm?ty=pbse&sid=5.
3. See Snyder, supra n.1.
4. See Correctional Populations of the United States, supra n.2.
5. Source: Correctional Populations of the United States Reports, supra n.2.
6. Source: Comparing arrest data from Snyder, supra n.1 and BJS Correctional Population reports, supra
n.2.
7. Thomas H. Cohen, Ph.D. & Brian A. Reaves, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Pretrial
Release of Felony Defendants in State Courts (Nov. 2007) at 2 & fig. 2, available at http://www.bjs.gov/
content/pub/pdf/prfdsc.pdf.
8. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, “The Fugitive: Evidence on Public Versus Private Law Enforcement
from Bail Jumping,” 47 J. Law & Econ. 93 (Apr. 2004), available at http://mason.gmu.edu/~atabarro/
PublicvsPrivate.pdf.
9. Dr. Robert G. Morris, Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Texas at Dallas, Pretrial Release
Mechanisms in Dallas County, Texas: Differences in Failure to Appear, Recidivism/Pretrial Misconduct,
and Association Costs of FTA (January 2013), available at http://www.utdallas.edu/epps/ccjs/dl/
Dallas%20Pretrial%20Release%20Report%20-FINAL%20Jan%202013c.pdf.

57

 

 

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