When the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance added Smart Pretrial to its Smart Suite of programs in 2014, it included the pretrial phase as part of an effort designed to use data-driven, evidence-based approaches to achieve cost savings and public safety at all phases of the criminal justice system. Within the pretrial phase, “3 Ms of Smart Pretrial” emphasized three goals: 1. Maximize public safety; 2. Maximize court appearance; and 3. Maximize the appropriate use of release, release conditions, detention, and public resources. The goal for the Pretrial Justice Institute and its partners was to support the work of sites over three years (2014-2017) to look at data, create a vision of pretrial justice for their community, and map a path from where they were to where they wanted to be. Three sites were chosen through a competitive process: the City and County of Denver, Colorado; Yakima County, Washington; and the State of Delaware.
This brief publication highlights the best activities and accomplishments. The project evaluated the impact of moving to a system that uses validated assessment and best options in community-based monitoring to improve pretrial decision-making with a focus on safety, court appearance, cost, and fairness outcomes.