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Statement of Herbert S Miller on March 11, 1980 Concerning Pretrial Services Agencies (From Operations of the Pretrial Services Agencies Hearings, P 129-179, 1981 - See NCJ-87514)

NCJ Number
H S Miller
Date Published
51 pages
The American Bar Association (ABA) standards for pretrial release favor the maximization of pretrial release commensurate with community safety, and the ABA believes pretrial services agencies are critical in ensuring this policy through objective pretrial reports and pretrial release supervision and services.
The ABA favors pretrial release, because pretrial detention places a severe burden on defendants and their families which constitutes punishment before conviction. Detention is also the most expensive and least efficient pretrial disposition. Further, pretrial detention also prejudices defense preparation, and pretrial detainees are unable to demonstrate to the sentencing judge that they are capable of adjusting to life in the community, which may lead to more sentences of incarceration upon conviction. The ABA is impressed with the valuable contribution made by pretrial services agencies (PSA's) to just dispositions of defendants awaiting trial. PSA's can help to maximize the number of defendants released prior to trial by providing reliable information about the defendant upon which the pretrial release decision can be based and by providing supervision that fosters greater confidence that release conditions will be met. In considering appropriate levels of funding for pretrial services, Congress should consider the workload rather than the caseload concept for determining staff requirements. This is because the effectiveness of pretrial services is dependent more on the types of persons dealt with and the services provided than the numbers of people. ABA standards for pretrial release are appended.