Pre-trial detention is the practice of detaining an individual accused of crime within a custodial facility before her or his crime has been adjudicated. It is now well documented that incarceration, even for short periods of time, is detrimental and that, within the U. S., incarceration pre-trial is disproportionately concentrated among poorer defendants. In recent years, several U. S. states have made significant changes to pre-trial detention, with California being the first to eliminate bail (the state's right to require a cash payment in exchange for release). No region in the U.S. has been so at the fore of changing pre-trial detention practices than the Northeast United States, where New Jersey and New York enacted the most sweeping statewide reforms in 2017 and 2020, respectively. In this talk, Dr. Blount-Hill reviews the substance of reform in New Jersey and New York, along with consequences of these changes and the larger reform movement. He also notes recent efforts to study the impact of bail reform in these states. Recognizing the need for more criminal justice research in Azerbaijan, Dr. Blount-Hill reviews what is known about pre-trial detention in Azerbaijan and considers what we might learn, if anything, from these American states.
Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill, PhD, JD, is research director for one of the largest prosecution offices in the United States and an adjunct assistant professor of criminal justice at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Among other things, his research focuses on the role of identity and group psychology in justice processes, the greater inclusion of disparate perspectives on justice issues, including from outside the West, and the translation of research into policy. His work has been recognized or funded by divisions of the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Sociological Association.