RTI International Joins National Partnership for Pretrial Justice

March 19, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Today, Arnold Ventures announced the launch of a new grant-funded community dedicated to reducing unjust and unnecessary pretrial detention. As an Arnold Ventures grantee, RTI International will join the National Partnership for Pretrial Justice, a group of more than 30 research, technical assistance, policy and advocacy organizations that will work to advance pretrial justice nationally and in more than 35 states across the country.

National Partnership members represent diverse stakeholders working to reform our pretrial justice system in broad and transformative ways, including organizations working on prosecutor, public defender, case processing and rural jail reform. Learnings from the project will be shared with other organizations seeking pretrial justice to more directly inform scholarship, practice and policy.

“RTI is excited to be included in this important partnership and contribute research to the pretrial justice movement to develop local PSAs and assess the impact of the PSA on jail populations,” said Matthew DeMichele, director of the Center for Courts and Corrections Research at RTI. “This project will create a partnership between researchers, technical assistance providers and local stakeholders to grapple with fundamental questions related to fairness, effectiveness and safety. RTI will use research to inform pretrial decision making to identify practices that increase predictive accuracy, minimize bias and maximize fairness.”

For example, the Center for Effective Public Policy will provide training, technical assistance and implementation of the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) in eight jurisdictions over five years as part of the newly announced $39 million Advancing Pretrial project. RTI will use local data to improve the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) in those eight jurisdictions, conduct ongoing research about the influence of the PSA on local decisions, and determine the possibility of creating new risk assessments.

RTI's Center for Courts and Corrections Research is committed to using objective, transparent and rigorous research to replace ineffective correctional practices with practices proven to work.

“The pretrial phase is the most consequential part of our justice system,” explained DeMichele. “Advancing Pretrial has the potential to transform the American pretrial justice system.”

“Our pretrial justice system is fundamentally broken. Presumption of innocence is a core American value and yet thousands of people are unjustly held in jails across the country simply because they can’t afford to pay bail,” said James Cadogan, Vice President of Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures. “This problem was not created in isolation and it cannot be solved that way either. We hope that by supporting a diverse group of leading criminal justice reform researchers, practitioners, thinkers, and institutions, we’re able to disrupt the status quo and achieve our goal of eliminating unnecessary and unjust pretrial detention.”

For a complete list of members and more details about the National Partnership, please visit www.pretrialpartnership.org.