Episode 195 | Just Reforming Pretrial PoliciesJaclynn McKay
Original Release Date: March 4, 2022
In episode one of our Community Relations season, Just Science sat down with Monica Sheppard, a research analyst, and Dr. Yamanda Wright, a research psychologist in RTI’s Transformative Research Unit for Equity (TRUE), to discuss reforming American pretrial policies.
Researchers have closely followed the racial and economic disparities that exist in American incarceration, particularly surrounding pretrial detention. Supported by Arnold Ventures, Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) seeks to improve pretrial outcomes by investing in research, technical assistance, and implementation across a range of partner sites nationwide. Listen as Monica and Yamanda discuss racial and socioeconomic disparities in the pretrial system and ways APPR is working to address them in this episode of Just Science.
This episode is funded in part by RTI’s Applied Justice Research Division and Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research, supported by Arnold Ventures.
- Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR)
- RTI International’s Transformative Research Unit for Equity (TRUE)
Monica Sheppard is a Research Analyst in the Transformative Research Unit for Equity (TRUE), where she co-leads the Emerging Equity Scholars program. Ms. Sheppard has extensive experience conducting qualitative research and analysis for criminal legal system reform. She has conducted interviews with criminal legal system stakeholders in many jurisdictions, as well as systems-impacted individuals and people impacted by crime. Ms. Sheppard’s current projects include work as the Qualitative Data Collection Lead in a project aimed to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system of a PA county, a Site Liaison and Co-Task Lead for a research project in support of advancing pretrial policy and research, and a Site Coach for a second chance act evaluation and sustainability grant. In addition to project work, Ms. Sheppard is involved in several initiatives aimed at addressing and improving RTI’s mission for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB).
Yamanda Wright is a developmental psychologist specializing in evaluating criminal legal system policies, practices, and outcomes for people across their lifespan. She has led mixed-methods assessments for four legislatures and six state agencies, using data to inform process improvement at the local and state levels, examining such topics as statutory caps on juvenile incarceration and administrative responses to adult violations of probation and parole. Based in RTI’s Waltham, Massachusetts, office, Dr. Wright leads inclusive, community-centered research on criminal legal system reform efforts across the county with a particular interest in how policymakers and other professional stakeholders share decision-making power with communities of color, those in the criminal legal system, and other historically marginalized groups. She has experience in 50-state policy analyses, legislative drafting, program evaluation, evaluability assessments, technical assistance for state and local agencies, and youth justice advocacy. Her technical skills include statistical analysis and coding in R, Stata, and SPSS.