Enacted: Jun 2010
WHEREAS, pretrial supervision services exist to evaluate the jail population to ensure those who should be in custody remain in custody and those who do not pose a significant risk to the community can be released, allowing for better utilization of our justice resources;
WHEREAS, a vast majority of pretrial supervision activities are carried out as subdivisions of state or local probation agencies, while depending on jurisdiction, others are standalone agencies;
WHEREAS, the bond industry serves as the de facto decision maker of who is released from jail and these decisions are based on monetary considerations whereby pretrial supervision agencies’ decisions are based on likelihood of court appearance and community safety considerations.
WHEREAS, the majority of our jails are filled with those awaiting trial with a large percentage of these crimes being misdemeanors and low-level nonviolent felonies while the cost for housing these individuals is borne by taxpayers;
WHEREAS, pretrial supervision has been proven a safe and cost effective alternative to jail for many individuals awaiting trial;
WHEREAS, pretrial supervision divisions in the United States employ professionally trained officers who use tools to assess the risk of offenders prior to release from jail and make recommendations for release to the appropriate court or office;
WHEREAS, pretrial supervision officers conduct assessments to determine the need for treatment (i.e., substance abuse, mental health) and help offenders access these services more quickly thereby reducing costs associated with jail incarceration and potential future crimes;
WHEREAS, pretrial supervision officers compile reports on those they supervise noting compliance with conditions that can be useful to the court if individuals convicted are then released on probation;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the American Probation and Parole Association supports the role of pretrial supervision services to enhance both short-term and long-term public safety, provide access to treatment services and reduce court caseloads, and submit that such a role cannot be fulfilled as successfully by the bail bond industry.