Pretrial Justice Reform is a multi-year, community-driven campaign to ensure that poverty is not a crime and the presumption of innocence is more than theory.
Every day, over 13,000 of our neighbors languish in Colorado’s overcrowded county jails. Most of these individuals have only been accused of a crime and are presumed innocent under the law. Many will see their cases dismissed in full. Yet they remain caged while they await trial only because they cannot afford to pay the money bond to get out. In this system of pretrial injustice, people with money remain free while they resolve their cases, while people without money remain behind bars, where they face the very real prospect of losing jobs, housing and even custody of children. This modern-day debtor’s prison must end.
This campaign has three bold goals to bring pretrial justice to Colorado:
- Dramatically increase the number of people who are free pretrial
95% of our neighbors should be home while their case is resolved.
- End wealth-based pretrial incarceration
No one should ever be held behind bars because of poverty.
- Fight racism at every stage in the pretrial system
From arrest to risk assessment to bond setting to bond revocations, we must acknowledge, study and eradicate racial disparities.
To assist in or join the campaign, click here: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACLU of Colorado Reports and Letters
Dangerous, Misleading and Biased: A Letter on Pretrial Risk Assessment Tools in Colorado
OCT. 29, 2020. The ACLU-CO released a new data-driven letter Dangerous, Misleading and Biased – A Letter on Pretrial Risk Assessment Tools in Colorado which highlights the underreported and concerning findings of the taxpayer-funded Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT) Validation Study. The study assessed the CPAT currently used by judges across the state to decide who should be held in jail pretrial, what bond amount should be set as a condition of release and which onerous conditions, such as GPS monitoring, should be placed upon people when released. The study found the CPAT so deeply flawed that it proposed a new risk assessment instrument, the CPAT-R, to replace it. ACLU-CO research finds that both tools are ineffective, racist and wrong for Colorado.
Risk assessment scores have a direct impact on people’s liberty and their ability to defend themselves against criminal charges. The stakes could not be higher. If Colorado is to use a pretrial risk assessment tool, we need to get it right. Yet, both the CPAT and CPAT-R are broken beyond repair.
COVID-19 Jail Depopulation in Colorado: An Unexpected Path Forward
OCT 13, 2020. The ACLU-CO released a new report “COVID-19 Jail Depopulation in Colorado: An Unexpected Path Forward” which found that jail depopulation in Colorado has been smart, safe, and thoughtful, with a clear focus on reserving jail beds for people who pose a threat to others. This report uses original data and research to assess the impact of depopulation policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and calls on legislators to memorialize these policies into law in 2021 to maintain low jail populations.