New Tool to Help Navigate Pretrial Justice System Changes

As more states and local communities discuss and implement pretrial justice system changes, it is critical for law enforcement to have a voice in these conversations to ensure that policies and procedures are fair, efficient, and keep officers and communities safe. IACP’s new Partnerships in Pretrial Justice: A Law Enforcement Leader’s Guide to Understanding and Engaging in Meaningful Front-End Justice System Change, outlines the key steps to developing effective justice system partnerships, policies, and programs.

The new publication includes talking points for law enforcement, resource links, and information about evidence-based pretrial strategies, including risk assessment, citation in lieu of arrest, diversion, and enhanced pretrial release monitoring. Many of these are strategies that law enforcement has used for years, but their use is increasing as the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and other sources call for the adoption of preferences for “least harm” resolutions.

In this publication, police leaders share their perspective on how these strategies have improved recidivism rates, officer retention, and quality of life for community members:

Sometimes you have to come up with solutions that are out of your lane. We developed a pretrial electronic monitoring program that allowed people arrested for crimes, who would otherwise have been incarcerated before trial, the structure to maintain their jobs and families. Within 12 months of implementation, our re-arrest rate went down to 5 percent from a rate of 36 percent, which has a significant impact on our community’s safety.

– Ken Miller, Chief of Police, Greenville Police Department, SC

Things like the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD) drug program and mental health diversion were initially not seen as desired assignments. We now have officers volunteering for these programs, as they can actually see the difference made in the lives of those assisted by the programs. In terms of retention, it has been remarkable to see a shift in culture and job satisfaction.

–  Rebecca Boatright, Senior Legal Counsel, Seattle Police Department, WA

For more information, visit www.theiacp.org/pretrial, contact Jennifer Styles to request a hard copy of the new publication, or catch IACP’s Pretrial Justice Team on the road:

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