Pre-trial Alternatives

COMMUNITY WELLNESS ALTERNATIVES

In Massachusetts, everyday, more than 5,000 women and men are jailed pretrial, that is, they have been convicted of nothing. The majority are often held for months only because they do not have money for bail. FJAH is a member of the Pretrial Working Group, which aims to develop and implement pretrial alternatives to incarceration.

Justice Home

JusticeHome is a proposed pretrial alternative to incarceration. It is a diversion program offered to women pretrial. JusticeHome allows women  to remain in their homes, instead of going to prison, and receive individual assessments and wrap-around community-based wellness services for themselves and their children. Instead of being warehoused in a prison, women and their children receive the support to heal from within their communities.

Mass Bail Fund

We support the Mass Bail Fund. The Massachusetts Bail Fund helps low income and poor residents to meet bail and addresses the inequities in the bail system. To jail a defendant before conviction, it is estimated to cost the community around $125 per day. The costs to the accused individuals are even steeper, as they stand to lose their jobs, their housing, custody of their children and access to appropriate mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Throughout Massachusetts, many poor men and women remain in jail, charged with misdemeanors and non-violent crimes, because they cannot afford their bail – even when it is as low as $100. Research suggests that people who are held during the pretrial period are more likely to be convicted and receive harsher sentences than those who are released on bail. The Mass Bail Fund has supported and accompanied released defendants to scheduled court dates, medical appointments, and treatment program intakes..