New Orleans in 2011 finds itself facing many of the same problems New York City faced in 1961 when the founders of the Vera Institute of Justice launched the Manhattan Bail Project: Too many people are held in pretrial detention who could be released without risk to public safety; the reliance on bail results in disparate outcomes based on financial ability; and the unnecessary detention of thousands of defendants each year imposes excessive costs on the city government and taxpayers, as well as on those needlessly detained. Vera is now working with New Orleans stakeholders to develop a comprehensive pretrial services system. Following in the footsteps of the Manhattan Bail Project, the work will create a carefully conceived and locally sensitive pretrial services system, one that will result in a fairer and more efficient criminal justice system and a safer community.

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