Racial disparities emerge at various stages of criminal case processing, including bail, detention, and diversion. This working group is devoted to better understanding the root causes of the disparities that emerge, identifying successful approaches to reducing such disparities, and devising a strategic plan through which recommended reforms might be adopted. Envisioned here, for instance, is a reconsideration of bail reform and the elimination of the cash bail system. But also up for discussion are the wraparound services possible through the Pretrial Service system.

Related Research and Commentary by Roundtable Members

Smith, Sandra Susan. "How Pretrial Incarceration Diminishes Individuals' Employment Prospects.Federal Probation 86.3 (December 2022): 11-18.

Sandra Susan Smith. Pretrial Detention, Pretrial Release & Public Safety. Arnold Ventures Public Safety Series Discussion Paper, July 2022.

Isabella Jorgensen and Sandra Susan Smith, "It’s time for Massachusetts to eliminate cash bail." CommonWealth, April 30, 2022.

Isabella Jorgensen and Sandra Susan Smith, The Current State of Bail Reform in the United States: Results of a Landscape Analysis of Bail Reforms Across All 50 States. HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series, December 2021.

Sandra Susan Smith and Cathy Hu, “Exploring the Causal Mechanisms Linking Pretrial Detention and Future Criminal Justice Involvement,” pp. 88-109 in The Handbook on Pretrial Justice, DCS Handbook on Corrections & Sentencing, Volume 6 (Pretrial Justice), edited by Jennifer Copp, Stephen DeMuth, and Christine Scott-Hayward, 2021. 

Sandra Susan Smith, “The Massachusetts Bail Fund is on the right side of the law — and justice.” The Boston Globe, August 18, 2020.

Jaeok Kim, Preeti Chauhan, Olive Lu, Meredith Patten, and Sandra Susan Smith, “Unpacking Pretrial Detention: An Examination of Patterns and Predictors of Readmissions,” Criminal Justice Policy Review, 1-25, May 2018.