ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT
Pretrial services was established in 1990 to reduce the rate at which defendants were failing to appear for court and to offer a viable alternative to housing pretrial defendants in jail. In 1995, the Pretrial Services Department was merged with the Adult Probation Department. Pre-bond interviews and pretrial supervision are designed to enhance public safety and improve the efficiency of the courts.
Prebond interviews are conducted by probation officers prior to a defendant's bond hearing to gather information that will assist the court in making decisions about bond and, if applicable, about the conditions of pretrial supervision. The vast majority of those interviewed have been charged with felony offenses. During an interview, the pretrial officer obtains information regarding the defendant's criminal record, drug and alcohol use, employment history, educational level, family situation and mental health history. The probation officer then scores a Bond Assessment Form designed to predict risk of flight, risk of reoffense and level of threat to community safety. Pertinent information is made available to the court during the bond hearing.
Pretrial supervision allows defendants to be monitored in the community while awaiting trial. Probation officers monitor defendants' compliance with conditions of bond, and through guidance, surveillance and referrals to appropriate service providers, assist defendants in meeting these conditions. Selecting from a variety of sanctions, the court can impose conditions that address the particular risks and needs of each defendant. In addition to being required to report to a pretrial officer, defendants can be required to:
- comply with home confinement or curfews;
- submit to drug testing;
- undergo alcohol/substance abuse treatment;
- avoid contact with victims and complaining witnesses;
- maintain employment;
- provide verification of residence;
- refrain from possessing a firearm;
- participate in educational or vocational programs; and
- attend psychiatric counseling.
Probation officers keep the court apprised of the defendant's compliance by providing status reports at each court hearing.