Moving Beyond Incarceration for Women in Massachusetts: The Necessity of Bail/Pretrial Reform

Author: Erika Kates, Ph.D.

Year Published: 2015

SKU: FD226


Currently, 60% of the U.S. jail population is held in pretrial detention. Therefore, policymakers in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are concerned with the enormous growth in prison populations are exploring ways of reducing the number of people who are held pretrial.1 A prime motivator of these efforts is avoiding the huge costs of expanding the prison infrastructure, but there is also a growing recognition that reforming bail practices and utilizing alternatives to incarceration (ATI) are more effective than imprisonment for many defendants.

The Massachusetts Women’s Justice Network (MWJN) is particularly concerned with the state’s bail and pretrial practices for women. The purpose of this Policy Brief is to help policy makers and others understand the reasons for this concern, and to ensure that they are addressed by current legislative and administrative efforts at pretrial reform

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