Debbie Allen and Wilford Pinkney are members of the FUSE Executive Fellowship Program. FUSE is a national nonprofit that partners with cities and counties to craft new policies, initiate new public services and improve existing programs.
Pinkney will focus on developing alternatives to cash bail. Allen will focus on establishing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a panel made up of elected and criminal justice leaders who meet regularly with the goal of improving criminal justice outcomes.
The City will hire a third FUSE fellow in April 2019 to work on the recruitment and retention of minority police officers. Allen and Pinkney will began their respective 12-month fellowship this week. Funding for the fellowships comes from the Missouri Foundation for Health, Incarnate Word Foundation, the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, St. Louis Community Foundation, Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis, and the Saint Louis Mental Health Board.
“We are thrilled to have Debbie and Wil join our team and take a serious look at how we can create a more equitable criminal justice system. People who don’t pose a public safety threat shouldn’t languish in our jails, ” Mayor Lyda Krewson said. “We also need to create a system where people with mental health needs who come into contact with police, get the treatment they need, rather than end up in jail.”
“My team and I have been partnering with both local constituents and national organizations to create an aggressive agenda based on best-practices to reform a system that took decades to create,” said Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner.
“We are committed to working with anyone who wants to reduce violent crime and promote the health and well-being of our community. It’s great to have the resources of the Mayor’s Office and the Fuse Fellows to assist in this important effort.”
“The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council will allow us to have open communication among many different departments that directly influence how the court operates,” said Michael Mullen, Presiding Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court.
“And having a FUSE fellow specifically looking at alternatives to cash bail will allow the court to examine how bonds are being set in criminal cases presently and gather information as to whether that procedure can be changed for the better.”
“I am looking forward to working with the FUSE Fellows to examine the current pretrial release practices and to develop procedures that can limit pretrial incarceration with community safety as a consideration,” said Mary Fox, St. Louis City District Defender, Debbie Allen will focus on institutionalizing a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for the region.
She most recently served as the Chief Justice Planning Officer for the Adams County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in Colorado where she led and managed an 18-member CJCC and its committees representing over 40-appointed members comprised of nine municipalities, two counties and the state of Colorado. She also serves as president of the National Association of Justice Information Systems and oversees the operations and activities of the board of directors in carrying out its annual conference and associated educational and promotional activities.
Previously, she was a criminal justice planner and justice information sharing program director on the Governor's Crime Commission in Raleigh, NC. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree in applied statistics from Penn State University.
In her work as a FUSE fellow with the City of St. Louis, Allen will analyze data from multiple entities involved in the criminal justice system; create data-sharing dashboards; and work toward instituting a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
The Council will explore local, state, county, and regional criminal justice and mental health statistics to provide the City with tools to make better recommendations for citizens navigating the criminal justice system. Wilford Pinkney, who will focus on bail reform, is a former New York City Police Department Detective. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in political science.
He has worked as a policy consultant and policy analyst in Caribbean countries and for the NYPD. He served as the chairperson of the Monroe College School of Criminal Justice, and is the founder and CEO of Puissance Management and Consulting, which focuses on capacity building and organizational development work. In his role in St. Louis, Pinkney will be developing a toolkit of bail and bond alternatives that provide the greatest benefit to the community.
The project may include developing a risk-based evaluation system to assist judges in determining whether or not a person poses credible harm to the community when determining bail; creating alternatives to reduce the likelihood of reoffending; and launching an automated court-date reminder system to ensure appearance.
The FUSE Corps program works to to help enable local governments to more effectively address their most pressing challenges. The fellowship program recruits and trains top executives from the private sector to work full-time for 12 months leading high impact projects selected by government partners.