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Top Takeaways from Smart Pretrial in Yakima County, Washington - PJI 2018 

02-20-2018 04:11 PM

Yakima County is a non-urban jurisdiction in eastern Washington state. Over the course of three years, as a result of its participation in the Smart Pretrial initiative, a demonstration project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and managed the Pretrial Justice Institute, it transitioned from having very little legal and evidence-based pretrial practices or the requisite supporting resources, to a place where pretrial decision-making is informed, deliberate, and fully integrated into the county’s justice proceedings. This brief provides an overview of how county officials applied the Smart Pretrial principles and methodology to realize these outcomes, as well as perspectives of Judge Richard Bartheld, who led the county’s Smart Pretrial policy team. (For a more detailed discussion, see Yakima County, Washington Pretrial Justice System Improvements: Pre-and Post- Implementation Analysis.)

Finding 1: Pretrial release rates increased from 53% to 73% of all cases, with no statistically significant change in public safety or court appearance.
Finding 2: Racial and ethnic disparities were significantly reduced as release rates increased.
Finding 3: Significantly more people post bond within three days


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