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Promising Practices in Providing Pretrial Services Functions Within Probation Agencies: A User's Guide

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2010
36 pages
This guide from the American Probation and Parole Association and the Pretrial Justice Institute presents information to probation agencies for on promising practices in providing pretrial services functions.
Within hours of a custodial arrest, judicial officers must make a decision as to the suitability of a defendant for pretrial release, and under what conditions they may be released, if any. Only 15 percent of the Nation's 3,065 counties have pretrial services programs to aid judicial officers in making these decisions. Since 1990, half of these programs have been housed administratively within probation departments, with local situations and resources dictating the most appropriate location for the programs. This guide is intended to provide information and flexibility to local officials to match local needs and circumstances with the most appropriate placement of pretrial services. While the guide does not advocate for any particular administrative location, it is designed to help jurisdictions achieve maximum effectiveness if the probation department has been chosen as the best location for a new pretrial services function. The guide discusses advantages for providing pretrial services functions in a probation department that include taking advantage of an existing infrastructure, taking advantage of existing relationships, more effective utilization of staff, increased standing and increased understanding, and enhanced coordination between pretrial services and probation. The challenges of placing pretrial services functions within a probation department include assuring that pretrial services is not being overshadowed by probation, restrictions on rotations, and funding. The final section of the guide discusses successful strategies for providing pretrial services programs within probation departments. Appendix


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