Independent Pretrial Services
Bail reform should establish supportive pretrial services independent of probation and law enforcement agencies. Pretrial services include automated communications, substance and mental health referrals, and community-sponsored release to protect public safety and ensure appearance for court appointments and trials. Implementing automatic phone call reminders in Multnomah County, Oregon, increased court appearance rates by 31% and saved the county over a million dollars in just eight months. Similar outcomes have been seen in counties across the country implementing automatic phone and text reminders. To optimize the benefits of pretrial services, the agency must operate independently from probation and parole functions. Referrals for substance abuse and mental health counseling to individuals with those needs must be non-mandatory.