Rural Justice Initiative
Current criminal justice reform initiatives in the U.S. focus primarily on urban jurisdictions; rarely do they include or mention rural and indigenous populations. The Rural Justice Initiative (RJI) will focus on this largely-overlooked aspect of criminal justice reform. RJI will continue to offer the Interdisciplinary Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) graduate seminar. In addition, RJI will offer interdisciplinary research and technical support to local, State and Tribal stakeholders engaged in evidence-based criminal justice policy and legislative reform.
RJI’s inaugural research projects focus on pretrial procedure and detention, including bail procedure and pretrial risk assessment. Specific projects include: researching and proposing uniform collection and central reporting of county jail data; surveying and analyzing the use of validated pretrial risk assessment tools in Montana and other rural jurisdictions; and researching and analyzing Alaska’s pretrial risk assessment tool, a tool designed for rural and indigenous populations.