Bailing out: Pretrial release reform (Sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists)

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Scott Bales of Arizona Supreme Court; Megan Cassidy of The Arizona Republic; Ted Gest of Criminal Justice Journalists; Penny Stinson of National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 23 at 9:00am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 6
  • Audio file: Only members can listen to conference audio

**Moderated by Ted Gest, Criminal Justice Journalists

Pretrial release is a national issue, with critics contending that the longstanding cash bail system keeps many non-violent suspects behind bars just because they can't pay small sums to be freed pending trial. Bail bondsmen insist that they are the best people to ensure that defendants who are released return for court appearances. This session features the chief justice of Arizona, who has led a reform effort, the president of a national organization that deals with the issue, and a reporter who covers it.

Speaker Bios

  • Scott Bales joined the Arizona Supreme Court in 2005 and became Chief Justice on July 1, 2014. He serves as an adjunct professor at the law schools at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona. He is also a member the ABA’s Law School Accreditation Committee, the Executive Committee of the ABA’s Appellate Judges Conference, and the Council of the American Law Institute.

  • Megan is a public safety reporter at The Arizona Republic, where she has worked for more than three years. Though Megan primarily covers local police, her editors are kind enough to let her to stretch that beat into criminal justice trends and crime stories throughout the state.

  • Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington bureau chief of, which publishes a daily news digest on criminal justice. He formerly covered criminal justice for U.S. News & World Report and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is the co-author of the latest edition of IRE's "Understanding Crime and Justice Statistics: A Reporter's Guide." 

  • Penny Stinson is the President of the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies. Ms. Stinson has 35+ years’ experience in the criminal justice field. She is a retired exec. from Maricopa County, AZ and was instrumental in program development/implementation. Her education includes a BA from UofA, an MA in Org. Mgmt, and a Fellowship from the NCSC Inst. of Ct. Mgmt. She serves on numerous Nat’l committees as a representative of pretrial issues in criminal justice.

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