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Statement of Guy Willetts on February 13, 1980 Concerning the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, Title 2 - Pretrial Services (From Operations of the Pretrial Services Agencies - Hearings, P 23-38, 1981 - See NCJ-87514)

NCJ Number
G Willets
Date Published
16 pages
Because the pretrial services agencies authorized under Title 2 of the 1974 Speedy Trial Act have increased the number of defendants released on bail and reduced detention time and crimes while on bail, it is recommended that such agencies be expanded from 10 pilot districts to all Federal districts.
Title 2 mandated the establishment of pretrial services agencies in 10 judicial districts on an experimental basis. Their primary functions are to (1) collect, verify, and report to the judicial officer information related to the pretrial release of charged persons and recommend appropriate release conditions; (2) review and modify the report and recommendation; (3) supervise and provide supportive services to releasees; and (4) inform the court of violations of conditions of release. The comparison of data on convicted defendants before pretrial services agencies (PSA's) with PSA data shows that PSA's have increased the number of defendants released, decreased the average number of days spent in detention, reduced the number of new crimes committed by those released on bail, and reduced the failure-to-appear rate. In addition to recommending that PSA's be established in all Federal districts, it is recommended that these agencies be established with their own administrative structure within the Federal court. New legislation should also emphasize that pretrial officers be given sufficient time to interview, verify, and provide a report to the court. Further, the following recommendations by the General Accounting Office should be implemented: (1) a system to monitor and evaluate bail activities, (2) information to judicial officers on the results of bail decisions so they may evaluate their performance against systemwide results, (3) periodic reports on the status and problems in the bail area to assist in making improvements.


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