Executive SummaryThis report was prepared for Yakima County stakeholders as part of the Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative, a project of the Bureau of Justice Assistance led by the Pretrial Justice Institute. The author of the report was the Technical Assistance Team Leader assigned to Yakima County for the Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative. Claire Brooker is an Associate with Justice System Partners, one of the Initiative’s technical assistance providers.
This report compares the outcomes of Yakima County’s pretrial justice system before and after policy makers implemented several system improvements in February 2016. These improvements were made as a result of local policy makers’ effort to pursue legal and evidence based pretrial practices that began before and continued throughout their participation in the Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative. Using Yakima County’s pretrial justice system vision statement, which reflects the three main goals of the Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative, as a benchmark for success, the findings in this report suggest that the improvements made were successful. The post-implementation time period reflects a pretrial justice system that is fairer and is as safe and effective as compared to the pre-implementation time period. There are, however, some areas for further improvement. Overall, though, these analyses indicate that a jurisdiction can reduce pretrial detention and improve racial/ethnic equity by replacing high use of secured money bail with non-financial release conditions guided by actuarial-risk-based decision making, and do so with no harm to public safety or court appearance.