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Past Conferences

Jailed Without Conviction? John Jay/Public Welfare Symposium on Pre-Trial Detention

May 25, 2012 03:12:51 pm

NPR Investigative journalist Laura Sullivan speaks to symposium attendees about pretrial detention Photo by Cara Tabachnick

The "front end" of America's criminal justice system--the period between arrest and trial---is rarely explored by journalists and the general public.  But it is often the real test of the fairness and equal justice promised under our democracy. And many critics charge the system today in the U.S. is heavily weighted against the poor and minorities who, for lack of cash or good legal advice, can spent weeks or months in detention awaiting trial.

On May 13-15, 2012 twenty-two journalists participated in a special New Orleans workshop to hear specialists from around the country describe the current state of  the system and  learn about programs and projects aimed at improving transparency and equity--such as pre-trial release programs underway in many states and cities. The fellows were competitively selected on the strength of investigative reporting projects currently underway or in the planning stage related to the topics explored at the 2012 conference. Read the press release announcing selection of fellows here.

The unique program, "Jailed Without Conviction? PreTrial Detention: The Clash Between Due Process and Public Safety" was organized by the John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice, with support from the Public Welfare Foundation, at Tulane University Law School.

The keynote speaker of the symposium  Stephen Bright, President and Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights.

Speakers on panels ranging from reporting on pretrial detention to the impact and politics of the country's bail procedures included: Cynthia Jones, Professor, Washington College of Law, American University; James Carr, Senior Judge, United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio; Laura Sullivan, Investigative Correspondent, National Public Radio;Dennis Bartlett, Executive Director, American Bail Coalition; Dennis Bartlett, executive director of the American Bail Coalition; and Jeffrey Altenburg, Assistant District Attorney, Milwaukee County.

There was a special panel on the recent implemented pretrial program in New Orleans. Speakers included, James Carter, Commissioner of Criminal Justice, City of New Orleans, Camille Buras, Chief Judge, Orleans Parish, Marlin N. Gusman, Sheriff, Orleans Parish.

Proceedings of the conference, including podcasts,  research materials provided by speakers, are available through the links below. For a full list of speakers, panelists, and the agenda click here.


NOTE: this page will be updated regularly with articles by Fellows and other information as it becomes available.

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Fellows Stories

Bail-bond system changes greeted with cautious optimism in New Orleans
John Simerman, The Times Picayune
Read the full story »

Judges say Tarrant County DA's office will prepare final judgments in bond forfeitures
Yamil Berard, Star Telegram
Read the full story »

Bail bondsman protests six-month suspension by county board
Yamil Berard , (Star-Telegram)
Read the full story »

Parker County files complaint about Tarrant bail bond businesses that haven't paid
Yamil Berard , (Star-Telegram)
Read the full story »

Defendants, bondsmen sometimes get off the hook in Tarrant County
Yamil Berard, (Star-Telegram)
Read the full story »

Bail Bond System Rife With Controversy About Preferential Treatment
Yamil Berard, (Star-Telegram)
Read the full story »

Statewide bail bondsmen rules needed, state auditor finds
Zac Taylor, (Star-Telegram)
Read the full story »

Bail-bond system changes greeted with cautious optimisim in New Orleans
John Simerman, , The Times-Picayune
Download the story »

Utah pretrial jail release program taking risks, not free from errors
Lindsay Whitehurst, The Salt Lake City Tribune
Read the full story »

Pretrial release pilots failing to stem county jail spending (part 1)
Zac Taylor, Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette
Read the full story »

Jailed without conviction: Behind bars for lack of money
Katy Reckdahl, Christian Science Monitor
Read the full story »

Resources from the Conference

Download file

The Price of Prisons What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers
Download file

The Law of Miscellaneous and Commercial Surety Bonds
Download file

Conference Audio

. . .

Keynote Speech: Stephen Bright, Southern Center for Human Rights

Download file

Panel 1: The Clash between Due Process and Public Safety

Download file
. . . . .


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