In 2017, New Jersey set a nationwide standard by eliminating the use of cash bail and introducing a risk-based assessment tool to inform pretrial release decisions. It’s now clear that these reforms have cut down on the system’s reliance on pretrial incarceration without jeopardizing public safety. But while fewer people are languishing in jail, another problem remains: How do we support people with mental health needs awaiting trial in the community?
To address that problem, Newark Community Solutions joined a team of practitioners in a pilot program that would deliver supportive services at the intersection of the criminal justice and mental health care systems. This report outlines lessons and recommendations derived from Newark Community Solutions’ experience providing assessment and case management services within this pilot program.