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Arnold Ventures Releases New Pretrial Justice RFP

Arnold Ventures’ pretrial justice team is seeking research proposals that will help inform and advance the field’s collective understanding of the policies and practices related to pretrial release decisions, pretrial release conditions, and pretrial services.

In recent years, many jurisdictions have considered or implemented reforms around pretrial release and detention. This has been in response to consistent evidence demonstrating that pretrial detention is a driver of mass incarceration and is associated with a range of negative outcomes, including an increased risk of pre- and post-disposition recidivism, poor case and quality of life outcomes, and persistent racial disparities. 

However, more research and evidence are needed to understand the processes and outcomes related to pretrial decision making. For this reason, the pretrial justice team at Arnold Ventures (AV) – one of the largest criminal justice funders in the United States – is launching a new Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP is aimed at researchers and jurisdictions (ideally working together where possible) and is intended generate methodologically rigorous research. This includes, but is not limited to, research approaches that will estimate causal impact and generate causal findings. 

We are excited to build a robust evidence-base aimed to improve pretrial, individual, and system outcomes,” Kristin Bechtel, AV’s director of criminal justice research, says. 

AV is committed to promoting diversity and racial equity through its research funding, and applicant teams are strongly encouraged to include members of groups who are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system.

Through this RFP, the pretrial justice team is interested in funding proposals falling within three topic areas. The first is release decisions, with a focus on evaluating the impact of new release decision policies enacted in recent years, the effects of pretrial detention length on various individual and community, and system outcomes, and the relative costs of release decisions.

The second is release conditions, with a focus on determining the impact of different release conditions, ascertaining the most effective release conditions, understanding how risk level and supervision intensity influence outcomes, establishing the most effective system responses to failure to appear/re-arrest, and evaluating the relative cost effectiveness of various release conditions.

The third is pretrial services, with a focus on identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of various models, ascertaining if specific models are more effective for certain populations, and investigating the outcomes of different supervision intensities and contact types.

Jurisdiction LOI applications are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT June 302023.

AV will answer questions related to this RFP during an optional Zoom call on June 1, 2023, at 1:00 EDT.

See here for the full RFP, including timelines, conditions, and instructions. 

Potential applicant teams are encouraged to send any questions to: PretrialRFP@​arnoldventures.​org