Pretrial Programs Limit Unnecessary Incarceration

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in support of House Bill 447 and Senate Bill 1156, “Pretrial Services Program Grant Fund – Establishment”, before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on April 5, 2018.

This bill would establish pretrial programs in counties that do not already have them 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 helps to mitigate the cost concerns of starting or enhancing 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 improve and expand the establishment of pretrial services in county jails will help advance the efforts to address the operational and societal costs of incarceration.”