Vera New Orleans developed and operates the city’s first comprehensive pretrial services program. The program uses standards established by the American Bar Association and the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies to screen people detained pretrial and establish their risk to public safety or of flight. The goal is to yield greater public safety and fairness by limiting pretrial detention only to those who pose the most significant risk to the public.
The program, which began in 2012, functions in collaboration with government, community, and civic organizations. It was originally funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and is now funded by the City of New Orleans. The appearance rate for New Orleans Pretrial Services (NOPTS) clients is over 90 percent.
To create a fairer pretrial detention process in which only the most violent, at-risk offenders are held.
To help judges make informed, discretionary decisions regarding pretrial detention.
To improve public safety by limiting the collateral consequences of detaining nonviolent offenders.
Key Fact & Resource
Justice in Katrina's Wake
Changing Course on Incarceration in New Orleans
In 2005, New Orleans detained more people in its local jail per capita than any other urban jurisdiction in the country. The jail—designed to hold people too great a risk to be released pretrial—was actually used to detain thousands of people too poor to pay a financial bond, with dramatic human and financial consequences. In the 10 years since Hur...