Fundamentals of Pretrial Justice - Spring 2020

When:  May 12, 2020 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (ET)
This course is now full. If you would like early access to the next Fundamentals course please email

The Fundamentals of Pretrial Justice is a six-week online course that incorporates self-guided learning and interaction with instructors and classmates.  This course will provide an overview of pretrial justice, its legal foundations, the latest research, and policies and practices that maximize liberty, equity, safety, and court appearance.  The course integrates systems and community perspectives to evaluate pretrial decision points and identify opportunities for safe, fair and equitable outcomes. You will have the opportunity to critically examine your own pretrial system through interactive exercises, as well as the opportunity to learn from fellow students engaged in pretrial system change efforts.

This course is ideal for those who play a role in pretrial system improvement, including elected officials and their staff, government and nonprofit leaders and staff working in pretrial systems, and organizers and advocates at the local and national level.  This course is best suited for those who have an interest or role in influencing pretrial policy. The course assumes a basic working knowledge of the court system.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to: 

  • Describe the legal requirements and foundational research of pretrial justice.
  • Analyze strategies to maximize pretrial liberty, equity, safety, and court appearance.
  • Assess a local pretrial system and its alignment with the law and research, including a focus on equitable practices and outcomes.
  • Identify next steps for pretrial system improvement in your own work.

Course Structure

Fundamentals of Pretrial Justice is a blended learning course that combines self-guided learning activities, online class discussion, and live online sessions with faculty. Live sessions meet weekly on Tuesdays from 3 - 4:30 p.m. ET.

Participants should expect to dedicate about five hours per week on assignments, readings, and live sessions.

Most course activities can be completed on your schedule, at your own pace.  Full participation in the course will require access to a computer with high-speed internet, a webcam, and either computer speakers and a microphone or a phone line.

Questions? Please email