Pretrial Programs Avoid Unnecessary Incarceration

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of House Bill 447, “Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund – Establishment”, before the House Judiciary Committee on March 13, 2018.

This bill would establish pretrial programs in counties that do not already have through a grant fund operated by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP). The grant is funded by proceeds from the state police sales of forfeited property, in addition to any governor appropriations, grants, or other sources. The bill would alleviate the concerns of starting a pretrial program, and maintains some flexibility for counties to tailor the program to their specific jurisdiction.

From MACo Testimony:

The bill mitigates cost concerns of starting a pretrial program, providing local governments a source for start-up grant funding. This funding supplements but does not supplant existing sources of funding, enabling counties to leverage other opportunities to help fund the launch and continued support of pretrial programs. While the bill has some evidence-based requirements, it keeps the eligibility requirements flexible enough for counties, who are best situated to determine the parameters of their pretrial programs based on the needs of their communities, to do so without mandating a “one size fits all” model.

The fund established under HB 447 to help expand the establishment of pretrial services in county jails will help advance the efforts to address the operational and societal costs of incarceration.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.