Thanks to changing ideology to technology solutions, pretrial services is experiencing extraordinary change. But how can you incorporate and adapt to those changes in your own organization?
- Best practices or just more of the same? Frustration points, NAPSA Standards, and driving from experience
- Outcome measures with common definitions
- The “no hands” approach to measurement
Justice Clearinghouse Editors: Nick, you’re a new presenter to the Justice Clearinghouse. Tell us a bit about your background with the arena of pre-trial services?
Nick Sayner: I’ve essentially worked my entire adult life in the area of pretrial services. I’ve done everything on the day-to-day level, from screening to case management and supervision. In the last 12 years, I’ve had the privilege to work in Senior Management and Administrative roles in two nonprofit organizations that have operated pretrial services in several counties.
The most recent organization… JusticePoint is an organization that I co-founded in 2012. In the last five years, I’ve focused on program development and implementation. I’ve also served in numerous local, state, and national groups and organizations that focus on pretrial advancement and development. I currently serve on Milwaukee County’s Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative Policy Team and the State of Wisconsin’s Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative Policy Team, and I was honored to be elected as the President-Elect for the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) in 2017.
The biggest trend right now is the push to move away from a charge based, money driven system
to one that focuses on public safety and flight risk.
JCH: Pre-Trial services is going through a bit of a renaissance right now. Can you share with us some of the major trends you’re seeing? What’s created this opportunity?
Nick: I think the biggest trend right now is the push to move away from a charge based, money driven system to one that focuses on public safety and flight risk. There have been several recent court decisions that have helped push the field in this direction, but these cases are likely to continue to be litigated in the coming years. The final say will be up to the courts, but it’ll be interesting to see if the initial decisions are upheld.
I think the other trend I see – and one that may be more important to pretrial practitioners – is the field is further being professionalized by changes such as the evolution of pretrial assessment tools, the use of pretrial case management and data software systems, as well as the continual development of Pretrial Release Standards that are being finalized by NAPSA.
JCH: What do you think the biggest myth or misconception about pre-trial services is?
Nick: The biggest myth about pretrial services is that the implementation of pretrial assessment tools and supervision allows for the opening up of jail doors for dangerous defendants. The pretrial field certainly has its roots in the social justice movement, but the continued professionalization of the field has focused on making sure the right people are released and the right people are incarcerated without the involvement of money, but rather through proven, evidence-based methods and universal standards. The new movement is focused on protecting public safety, tax payer’s dollars, and protecting the constitution.
…The continued professionalization of the field has focused
on making sure the right people are released and the right people are incarcerated
without the involvement of money,
but rather through proven, evidence-based methods and universal standards.
JCH: What keeps you motivated to keep working so diligently in this arena?
Nick: What ultimately keeps me motivated is that the criminal justice systems that are operating in so many counties around our country are unfortunately flawed often in fundamental ways. On the one hand, the public has this perception of how the criminal justice system operates, but on the other, it actuality operates completely differently. What keeps me going is the hope that the work I’m contributing ultimately plays a part in making the justice system more fair for everyone.