U.S. Department of Justice

Pretrial

Pretrial Services programs provide crucial information to judicial officers to assist with the bail decisions and to provide supervision and services to pretrial defendants that will promote public safety and court appearance.

The role of a high functioning pretrial agency can have many positive impacts on local justice systems. By identifying risk factors through validated risk instruments and providing release options and strategies to manage the defendant’s risk pending trial, judicial officers can make informed decisions that balance the Constitutional presumption of innocence while providing protections for the community.


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Recommended Reading

Date Title Type
2011
Document preview
Assessing Local Pretrial Justice Functions: A Handbook for Providing Technical Assistance
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC).
This guide “presents a protocol designed to produce high-quality technical assistance for the front end of the criminal justice system—the pretrial justice stage” (p. iii). Sections contained in this publication are: basic obligations of a technical assistance (TA) provider; preparation for the site visit; conducting the site visit; people who should be interviewed and areas of inquiry; after the site visit; characteristics of effective technical assistance; and logistics of acting as a consult... Read More
PDF
39 pages
2011
Document preview
Measuring What Matters: Outcome and Performance Measures for the Pretrial Services Field
National Institute of Corrections. Pretrial Executives Network (Washington, DC).
“This monograph presents recommended outcome and performance measures and mission-critical data … [that] will enable pretrial service agencies to gauge more accurately their programs’ effectiveness in meeting agency and justice system goals” (p. v). Sections of this publication include introduction, outcome measures, performance measures, mission-critical data, setting targets, and examples of pretrial release program measures.... Read More
PDF
24 pages
2010
Document preview
A Framework for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Criminal Justice Systems
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC). Center for Effective Public Policy (Philadelphia, PA); Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC); Justice Management Institute (JMI) (Denver, CO); The Carey Group (Silver Spring, MD).
This report is essential reading for individuals wanting to achieve "measurable reductions of pretrial misconduct and post-conviction reoffending" (p.6). Eight sections follow an introduction (a new paradigm for the justice system): underlying premises; the key decision points, decision makers, and stakeholders in the criminal justice system; examining justice system decision making through the lens of harm reduction; the principles underlying the framework; applying evidence-based principles to... Read More
PDF
68 p.
2010
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Kentucky Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument Validation
By Austin, James; Ocker, Roger; Bhati, Avi. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (Washington, DC). JFA Institute (Washington, DC).
The validity of the Kentucky Pretrial Service Agency (KPSA) risk assessment instrument is determined. Other pretrial agencies can compare their risk assessment instruments to this evaluation to see where they stand. Sections of this report are: introduction; research methods; use of special conditions; and improvement of the current tool. Based on conflicts in the prior instrument, a modified tool resulted from this study.... Read More
PDF
16 pages
2013
Document preview
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
The chart available at this website provides “information on statutory guidance for setting pretrial release conditions” by state. Data presented includes the state, regulating statute, presumption of personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond, least restrictive conditions required, and whether a risk assessment is required.... Read More
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2 pages
2013
Document preview
Pretrial Release Eligibility
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
“State constitutions and statutes specify which defendants may be detained before trial … However, denial of release is not absolute. A court must make certain determinations before ordering detention … While state laws broadly provide for presumption of release, they also define who is and is not eligible for pretrial release, and under what conditions.” A chart showing pretrial release eligibility by state is available at this website. The chart shows the state and its governing statute, presu... Read More
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3 pages
2007
Document preview
Legal and Evidence Based Practices: Application of Legal Principles, Laws, and Research to the Field of Pretrial Services
By VanNostrand, Marie. National Institute of Corrections. Community Corrections Division (Washington, DC). Luminosity, Inc. (St. Petersburg, FL); Crime and Justice Institute (Boston, MA); National Institute of Corrections. Community Corrections Division (Washington, DC).
"[C]ritical legal principles applicable to defendants during the pretrial stage" are covered (p.3). Sections of this paper are: introduction and background; pretrial legal foundation -- presumption of innocence, right to counsel, right against self-incrimination, right to due process of law, right to equal protection under the law, right to bail that is not excessive, and summary of legal principles; evidence-based practices in pretrial services and community corrections; and summary and conclu... Read More
PDF
33 p.
2011
Document preview
Commonwealth of Virginia: Roadmap for Evidence-Based Practices in Community Corrections
By Pierce-Danford, Kristy; Guevara, Meghan. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (Washington, DC). Community Resources for Justice. Crime and Justice Institute (Boston, MA).
“The Roadmap is a guide for the sustainable implementation and replication of evidence-based practices in pretrial and local probation agencies across the state ... [it] offers valuable insights into lessons learned during implementation and provides proven strategies for addressing challenges to sustainable change” (p. 1). Chapters following an introduction explaining how to use the Roadmap are: Virginia’s application of the Integrated Model; assessing the organization; strategic planning and w... Read More
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141 pages
2012
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2012 Pretrial Release Legislation Overview
National Conferences of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
“This overview identifies and describes significant actions and trends within this collection of [pretrial] legislation” (p. 1). Sections of this report cover: pretrial release eligibility--crime specific restrictions, risk assessments for pretrial release, and offenses committed during release; pretrial release options—non-monetary bail (release on recognizance (ROR), electronic monitoring, and pretrial services programs), and monetary bail; commercial bond regulation—commercial bond business p... Read More
WEB
4 pages
2013
Document preview
Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT): Administration, Scoring, and Reporting Manual, Version 1
By Taylor, Bryan. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) Washington, DC).
The Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool (CPAT) “is an empirically derived multi-jurisdiction pretrial risk assessment instrument for use in Colorado. It is designed to improve the various pretrial assessment processes that exist in local Colorado jurisdictions … The purpose of a pretrial risk assessment protocol that includes the CPAT is to enable Colorado pretrial services agencies’ recommendations for bond conditions, the court’s ordering of bond conditions, and/or the agency’s pretrial supervis... Read More
PDF
13 pages
2013
Document preview
Pretrial Detention and Misconduct in Federal District Courts, 1995-2010
By Cohen, Thomas H.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC).
This report “[p]resents findings on general trends in pretrial detention and misconduct in the federal district courts between fiscal years 1995 and 2010. The report highlights trends in the number of defendants released and detained pretrial and examines the changing composition of defendants with federal pretrial dispositions, including the increase in defendants charged with immigration violations and the growth of defendants with serious criminal backgrounds. It examines the relationships be... Read More
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13 pages
2011
Document preview
Promising Practices in Providing Pretrial Services Functions Within Probation Agencies: A Users Guide
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (Washington, DC). American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) (Lexington, KY); Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC).
Guidance is provided for jurisdictions looking to incorporate a pretrial services function within a probation department. This combination will serve to “retain or implement evidence-based practices in a way that provides the most efficient use of criminal justice resources without sacrificing public safety” (p. 7). Sections of this publication are: introduction; advantages of providing pretrial services functions in a probation department—taking advantage of existing infrastructure and relatio... Read More
PDF
36 pages
2013
Document preview
The Delivery of Pretrial Justice in Rural Areas: A Guide for Rural County Officials
By Vetter, Stephanie J.; Clark, John. U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC); National Association of Counties (NaCo) (Washington, DC).
“This is a guide for elected officials seeking to enhance existing or develop new pretrial justice practices in rural areas. By identifying the characteristics, strengths and challenges in rural jurisdictions and combining these factors with the lessons and experiences of urban, suburban and rural pretrial justice programs, national standards and best practices, this guide offers a set of recommendations to enhance local policies and practices within the context of rural settings” (p. 3). Sectio... Read More

23 pages

Related Resources

Date Title Type
2014
Document preview
On the Chopping Block 2013: State Prison Closures
The Sentencing Project (Washington, DC).
This report describes the continuing trend for states to close or consider closing prisons. Sections discuss: opportunity for closures; reforms in state sentencing practices in 2013; states closing or considering closing correctional facilities in 2013; shifting dynamics on prison closures; repurposing prisons; openings and expansion; and rethinking the use of incarceration.... Read More

6 pages
2014
Document preview
On the Chopping Block 2013: State Prison Closures
The Sentencing Project (Washington, DC).
This report describes the continuing trend for states to close or consider closing prisons. Sections discuss: opportunity for closures; reforms in state sentencing practices in 2013; states closing or considering closing correctional facilities in 2013; shifting dynamics on prison closures; repurposing prisons; openings and expansion; and rethinking the use of incarceration.... Read More

6 pages
2013
Document preview
Ohio Risk Assessment System: ORAS News and Updates
Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition (Columbus, Ohio).
Access is provided to resources about the Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS). Materials available include: training updates; ORAS Newsletters; and ORAS tools—Community Supervision Tool, ORAS Full Binder (all the tools in one pdf), Pretrial Tool, Prison Tool, Reentry Tool, Research data, and Veterans Questionnaire.... Read More

2013
Document preview
Evidence-Based Pretrial Release: Final Paper
By Pepin, Arthur W.. Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) (Williamsburg, VA ).
Anyone looking to reduce the amount of beds they need for pretrial detention should read this publication. It explains why evidence-based assessment of offenders can help reduce the need for current levels of or increased need for pretrial detention capacity. “Evidence-based assessment of the risk a defendant will fail to appear or will endanger others if released can increase successful pretrial release without financial conditions that may defendants are unable to meet. Imposing conditions on ... Read More

16 pages
2013
Document preview
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
The chart available at this website provides “information on statutory guidance for setting pretrial release conditions” by state. Data presented includes the state, regulating statute, presumption of personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond, least restrictive conditions required, and whether a risk assessment is required.... Read More
_blank
2 pages
2013
Document preview
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
The chart available at this website provides “information on statutory guidance for setting pretrial release conditions” by state. Data presented includes the state, regulating statute, presumption of personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond, least restrictive conditions required, and whether a risk assessment is required.... Read More
_blank
2 pages
2013
Document preview
Pretrial Release Eligibility
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (Denver, CO).
“State constitutions and statutes specify which defendants may be detained before trial … However, denial of release is not absolute. A court must make certain determinations before ordering detention … While state laws broadly provide for presumption of release, they also define who is and is not eligible for pretrial release, and under what conditions.” A chart showing pretrial release eligibility by state is available at this website. The chart shows the state and its governing statute, presu... Read More
_blank
3 pages
2013
Document preview
Measuring the Prevalence of Crime with the National Crime Victimization Survey
By Lauritsen, Janet L.; Rezey, Maribeth L.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Washington, DC).
This report presents “comparisons of victimization rates and prevalence rates of nonfatal violent crime and household property crime from 1993 to 2010. The report uses prevalence rates to describe patterns of repeat victimization for violent and property crime and to identify specific population subgroups at the highest risk for repeat victimization. It compares violent victimization and prevalence rates across victim age and sex and according to victim-offender relationships.” Sections of this ... Read More

27 pages
2013
Document preview
Measuring the Prevalence of Crime with the National Crime Victimization Survey
By Lauritsen, Janet L.; Rezey, Maribeth L.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Washington, DC).
This report presents “comparisons of victimization rates and prevalence rates of nonfatal violent crime and household property crime from 1993 to 2010. The report uses prevalence rates to describe patterns of repeat victimization for violent and property crime and to identify specific population subgroups at the highest risk for repeat victimization. It compares violent victimization and prevalence rates across victim age and sex and according to victim-offender relationships.” Sections of this ... Read More

27 pages
2012
Document preview
Pretrial Risk Assessment 101: Science Provides Guidance on Managing Defendants
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) (Washington, DC).
This brief explains how pretrial risk assessments can benefit the community by improving public safety and reducing costs. Sections cover: what a pretrial risk assessment tool is; the risk factors that are on a pretrial risk assessment; why it is important to some a person’s risk level; the effectiveness of pretrial risk assessments; how pretrial risk assessments are developed; the challenges and limitations of a pretrial risk assessment; and the things criminal justice stakeholders can do to im... Read More
PDF
5 pages
2012
Document preview
Raising the Juvenile Justice Jurisdictional Age: Treating Kids as Kids in New York State’s Justice System
On-site use only. Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA) (Albany, NY).
The need to increase the age of juvenile court’s jurisdiction from 16-year-olds to 18-year-olds is explained. Topics discussed in this brief include: New York is one of two states in the U.S. (North Carolina being the other) that treat 16-year-olds as adults; research shows that adolescent brains are not fully developed; sending youth to the adult correctional system leads to poorer outcomes; most juveniles commit non-violent and non-serious offenses; young offenders have significant mental heal... Read More
PDF
5 pages
2012
Document preview
Raising the Juvenile Justice Jurisdictional Age: Treating Kids as Kids in New York State’s Justice System
On-site use only. Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA) (Albany, NY).
The need to increase the age of juvenile court’s jurisdiction from 16-year-olds to 18-year-olds is explained. Topics discussed in this brief include: New York is one of two states in the U.S. (North Carolina being the other) that treat 16-year-olds as adults; research shows that adolescent brains are not fully developed; sending youth to the adult correctional system leads to poorer outcomes; most juveniles commit non-violent and non-serious offenses; young offenders have significant mental heal... Read More
PDF
5 pages

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