Much of the pretrial reform debate centers on one key question: Should this individual be released or detained? However, the second-most important question is the most overlooked: How? How do we know our approach is working to deliver fair practices? If the individual is released, what pretrial services should they receive? If they’re detained, how should they be housed?
Pretrial decisions can have heavy consequences. Individuals involved in the pretrial phase of the justice process are considered still-innocent of any crime, so the decisions that are made must be weighed carefully. Pretrial reform is a hot topic in our country today, and the use of a risk assessment during the pretrial phase is under great scrutiny.
Pretrial practices are seeing upheaval across the country, and as many jurisdictions push for reforms, there is an abundance of information and misconception in the public eye. Ground yourself in the basics of pretrial, and learn what successful counties have in common.
In the last few years, pretrial reform has accelerated to an almost breakneck speed. The traditional practice of setting monetary bail based strictly on a person’s current criminal charges and their criminal history is shifting to practices that look for alternative ways to handle pretrial decisions based on a person’s risk level. Those who work in corrections are wondering how to navigate a system that will no longer rely on money bail.
With so much conversation around pretrial practices and so much legislative change happening now and on the horizon, it can be difficult to fully understand their impact on our processes. Staying ahead of the reform conversation is no easy feat – especially when you’re focused on ensuring compliance and keeping your community safe.
San Diego County Pretrial Services has seen it all. From its original multi-agency oversight to present-day operation under our County Sheriff, we’ve overcome significant hurdles; including a time in recent years when lack of funding eliminated pretrial services altogether – compromising community safety and individual wellbeing across the county.