Creating a More Equitable Process for Determining Bail

People awaiting trial in St. Louis often spend time in jail for cases that are eventually dismissed. In addition to generating high costs for the city, this creates problems for those incarcerated, including mental distress, loss of employment and housing. St. Louis plans to initiate pretrial detention reform to reduce the number of people awaiting trial in jail.

After assessing the existing pretrial system and alternative approaches used in other cities, FUSE executive fellow Wilford Pinkney, Jr. will work with key stakeholders to design comprehensive bail reform. The plan will include such details as realistic alternatives to bail and bonds for people who can’t afford them, a court appearance accountability system for people on bail, and a means for evaluating a person’s risk to public safety when setting bail with an associated cost/benefit analysis. Ultimately, St. Louis hopes to reduce the number of people detained in jail by 40 percent while ensuring court appearances and not increasing crime rates.

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