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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.

The Purpose of Pretrial Release

Our criminal justice system stands on two bedrock principles: that individuals accused of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that they are entitled to a speedy trial. Yet many defendants are detained in jail before and during trial -- while they are presumed innocent -- because they cannot post bail, and, all too often, have to wait an extended number of months to see their day in court (Joint Committee on Criminal Justice - New Jersey, 2014). This can impair their access to justice as a result of a reduced ability to actively participate in planning their defense with counsel, contacting witnesses, and collecting evidence. Some low-level offenders may plead guilty, not because of their culpability, but because of their need or desire to get out of jail, particularly individuals with fragile employment which would be lost if they miss work, or single parents who need to care for their children. 

Research also shows that low-risk defendants who are detained pretrial are more likely to commit new crimes, not only while their cases are pending, but also years later. The impact of unnecessary pretrial detention also is reflected in bloated jail populations and the accompanying expenses of providing health care, meals, and other costs of incarceration. (Missouri Pretrial Best Practices, 2016)

The American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) is offering a free webinar

You Can’t Read the Label from Inside the Jar: Disruptive Truth Bombs about Criminology, Implementation Science, and Real-World Organizational Change

As described by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), "....this presentation will provide the 'real talk' necessary to think critically about the truths, lies, twists, and real-world trials about criminology, implementation science, and organizational change. Blunt, honest, sometimes funny, and painful where necessary, the presenter will illuminate the realities of modern sciences as they apply (or not) to real-world and authentic, lasting change. Attendees will learn to think beyond the conventional norms about how to effect real organizational change. Attendees will also be given basic introduction to the 10 Essential Principles for Implementation Leadership - practically derived and scientifically supported approaches to leading real-world change in criminal justice settings."

Registration Link: 

Date and Time: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Community Services Division