The North Carolina Pretrial Services Association was started in 1996 in order to bring together Pretrial Services Programs across North Carolina to enhance our ability to serve the N.C. Court System.
Pretrial Service Programs serve the Court in many ways. Pretrial Programs screen just-arrested defendants and gather detailed information about these defendants for the Court. Information regarding where the defendant lives, whom the defendant lives with and the defendant’s ties to the area are gathered and verified. A criminal background check is made on the defendant. Information from Probation Officers, alleged victims, family members and/or therapist/caseworkers is gathered and presented to the Court.
All of the information presented to the Court assists the judicial official determining bond conditions to make a more informed and safer decision as to the proper release conditions for the defendant. The information may keep the defendant’s bond the same or it may raise or lower the defendant’s bond. The Court also has the option of releasing the defendant into the custody of the local Pretrial Services Program. The Judicial Official makes this decision, not the Pretrial staff.
If the Court decides to release the defendant into the custody of the Pretrial Services Program, the Program provides monitoring of the defendant in the community. This monitoring includes: checking in with a Case Manager, reporting new arrests, reporting curfew violations, violations of “court-ordered conditions of release” and/or reporting to the Court any victim contact violations. Community-based monitoring may also include and incorporate electronic monitoring or alcohol monitoring technology as a supervision enhancement. Case Managers also assist the defendant with finding out names of appointed attorneys, court dates and courtroom locations.
All Pretrial Programs provide tremendous cost benefit savings to the taxpayers of their respective counties. It is always cheaper to monitor a defendant in the community than it is to house the defendant in jail and pay for his food, medicine and health care.