Race and Pretrial Detention: Why Data Matters

Recorded On: 11/01/2019

Join us for a conversation with Wendy Sawyer of the Prison Policy Initiative, who will talk about their new issue brief, How race impacts who is detained pretrial, and PPI's mission of using data to spark advocacy campaigns.  We'll also be joined by Douglas Smith from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition who will share his on-the-ground experience using data as a tool for decarceration in Texas.

Tenille Patterson

Vice President, Mission Support Services

As the vice president of mission support services, Tenille Patterson is responsible for and oversees the activities and processes that provide core mission support to PJI. Tenille's accounting career began 16 years ago when she worked as an auditor for the global professional services firm PwC. To align her professional aspirations with her spirit of advocacy and social justice, Tenille transitioned into the nonprofit field, working with and for organizations serving the most underserved and disenfranchised.

In her most recent nonprofit leadership experience, Tenille served as chief operating officer of the Center for Urban Families, a human services organization dedicated to supporting fathers and families suffering from the effects of systemic and institutional inequality. Tenille has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Morgan State University and is a certified public accountant.

Wendy Sawyer

Research Director

Wendy Sawyer is the Research Director at the Prison Policy Initiative. Wendy earned a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s in Afro-American Studies from the University of Massachusetts. Before joining the Prison Policy Initiative, she worked as an investigator for the Civilian Complaint Review Board in New York City and as a research associate for Northeastern's Institute on Race and Justice.

Most recently, Wendy co-authored Arrest, Release, Repeat: How police and jails are misused to respond to social problems with Alexi Jones. Their report offers the first national estimates of how many individuals go to county jails each year, and how many are jailed repeatedly; it also finds troubling demographic and health disparities between people who were recently jailed and those who were not. Other recent publications include Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie and States of Incarceration: The Global Context, both co-authored with Peter Wagner.

Previously, Wendy authored Youth Confinement: The Whole Pie, a report illustrating where, why, and under what conditions justice-involved youth are held by the state, which finds that many of the problems of the criminal justice system are mirrored in the juvenile system. Also in 2018, she wrote The Gender Divide: Tracking women's state prison growth, finding that in many states, treating women's incarceration as an afterthought has held back efforts to decarcerate. Her 2016 report, Punishing Poverty: The high cost of probation fees in Massachusetts, shows that probation fees hit poor communities hardest. In addition to these reports, Wendy conducted the Prison Policy Initiative's frequently-cited 2017 50-state surveys of wages for prison labor and medical copays charged to incarcerated people, and she frequently contributes shorter briefings on recent data releases, academic research, women's incarceration, pretrial detention, probation, and more.


Senior Policy Analyst

Doug Smith is Senior Policy Analyst for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Since joining TCJC in 2015, he has developed policies to reduce Texas’ over-reliance on incarceration and improve conditions of confinement and reentry for people leaving prison. He previously served as a Policy Analyst in the Texas House of Representatives’ Committee on Human Services, as well as a Legislative Director for a member of the House. Doug’s passion for criminal justice reform stems from his own experience in the criminal justice system, where he served six years in prison for crimes committed as a direct outcome of addiction. In addition to his state-level advocacy work with TCJC, Doug is a member of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reentry Task Force, and he serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Austin Sobriety Center. He is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, teaching Advanced Policy. Doug graduated magna cum laude from St. Edward’s University in 1994 and earned his M.S.S.W. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000.


Race and Pretrial Detention: Why Data Matters
11/01/2019 at 12:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
11/01/2019 at 12:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes