Locked Up Without a Conviction: The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act and Strategies for Public Safety

The interior of the prison cell
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11/01/2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Every year, 12 million people exit jailhouse doors across the country. The number of jail inmates has ballooned over the past few decades, and the number of non-convicted inmates awaiting trial—the “pretrial population”—has driven the vast majority of this growth. Today, nearly 70 percent of people locked up in jails are legally presumed innocent.

Though jails are run at the state and local levels, the issue has sparked federal interest. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017, to award states federal grants to reform their cash bail systems with individualized, pretrial risk-assessment tools.

As this legislation moves through Congress, the public discussion of bail and pretrial reforms should center around several questions: 1) How do we ensure pretrial risk assessments produce a net increase in due process for defendants and public safety for communities? 2) How does jail affect lower-income citizens and people of color? 3) What are the collateral consequences of jail, and are we creating barriers for individuals returning to society?

Please join R Street for a panel in the Capitol Visitor Center to discuss this emerging topic in criminal justice policy.

Lunch will be served.


  • Professor Marc Howard, Professor of Government and Law, Georgetown University
  • Arthur Rizer, Director of National Security and Justice Policy, R Street Institute
  • Ed Chung, Vice President, Criminal Justice Reform, Center for American Progress
  • Robert Green, Director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, Montgomery County
  • Sekwan Merritt, Reform Advocate and Former Inmate (tentative)
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