Unlike the other branches of the justice system, Pretrial is fairly new. When you ask the public about their understanding of the role and purpose of Pretrial service they might not be able to articulate exactly what it is and its responsibilities. Despite their little less popular status, Pretrial plays a key role in the justice system such that they ensure that the canon of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is maintained.
Today’s esteemed speakers for the webinar are Chris Williams and Nick Sayner. Chris and Nick will provide their insights coming from two perspectives regarding the roles, practices and frustration points in the field.
Nick is the Executive Director of JusticePoint, Inc, a non-profit organization committed to promoting evidence-based programs, practices, and policies – one of which is on Pretrial Services. Meanwhile, Chris is the Business Development Manager at Tribridge's public sector team. Tribridge is a solutions provider specializing in cloud computing, CRM, and custom software, among others. Tribridge partnered with JusticePoint to design a seamless software that takes care of all the needs when it comes to case handling in a Pretrial Service agency.
Nick and Chris teamed up today to give us an insider look into the work of Pretrial Services and how to harness technology towards efficiency and productivity.
Some of the areas that they touched upon today are:
- The main functions of Pretrial Services to determine eligibility for pretrial release, and to supervise defendants who were released through the Pretrial programs.
- The challenges faced by Pretrial agencies concerning caseloads, multiple data sources, data collation, and reporting.
- The problem that Pretrial management aims to solve which is to ensure fair treatment of individuals in the court, regardless of their social status.
- How bail became a vehicle for systematic injustice by granting those financially able freedom, while those who cannot afford the bail are held in detention.
- A brief history of Pretrial and the 3 waves of the Bail Reform and how its focus shifted from finding alternatives to bail, to public safety, to research.
- The key players in the creation of Pretrial standards and the factors considered in laying out these standards.
- The highlights of the Pretrial Standards that aims to maximize appearance, release, and public safety.
- Frustration points for Pretrial Services concerning the lack of solid foundation, identity, purpose, independence and efficient systems, and the challenge in measuring outcomes.
- A technology-based solution to ease the challenges and frustration that lets the agency define their role, utilize the power of data intelligence, and automate notifications, report, and data.
- Nick’s experience managing Pretrial agencies and the multiple changes they went through which did not quite provide the efficiency they need nor capture their desired output.
- Chris’ experience working with partner Pretrial Agencies using the Tribridge Solution Suite.
- The positive results of using the PRETRIAL 360 software that is user-friendly, yet intelligent enough to consolidate data and run detailed and complex reports.
- Other features included in the software that allows compliance monitoring, automated reminders and notifications, and how it impacted court appearances and recidivism
- Poll questions raised to identify the audience’s composition and their case management and data compilation practices.
The Q&A segment covered topics raised by the audience on:
- The initial steps to move towards an electronic system by first establishing a commitment to the change.
- The current state in most agencies that continues to use a hybrid system of a third-party software and an in-house program.
- The various obstacles that will be met during migration involving training and dealing with people’s reluctance to change, among others
- The presence of data analysts, its benefits, and how the PRETRIAL 360 software allows anyone to be an analyst through its data intelligence features.
- The benefits when it comes to cost, time, maintenance, and updating of a third-party software versus an in-house program.
- The importance of independence for Pretrial agencies, and which branches to house a Pretrial agency if complete independence isn’t feasible.
- The next phase of the Pretrial profession that will hopefully eliminate money bails and move towards an approach that gauges an individual’s risk to determine release.
- The role of mobile technology and reminders towards better communication and more effective processes.
- The big things to measure for in Pretrial service organizations being the appearance rate, new criminal activity rate, and release rate.