Oppose Repeal of the Pretrial Services Act

January 18, 2018

VACo opposes HB 997 (Gilbert), which repeals the Pretrial Services Act established in 1995. The bill is assigned to the House Courts of Justice Committee’s Subcommittee #1. The bill has not appeared on the docket.

Action Required – Contact your Delegates to oppose HB 997.

TALKING POINTS

Repealing the Pretrial Services Act will cause overcrowding in jails. More defendants would be required to remain in confinement in both local and regional jails. At a great cost to localities and the state, more individuals would stay in jail with higher bonds without pretrial services.

Pretrial services provide courts with information on whether to release a defendant back into the community.

According to the 2012 Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report, pretrial services lower public safety costs up to $65 per person per day by allowing individuals transferred from jail detention to community corrections programs.

Thirty-three pretrial service agencies serve 100 of the 133 localities across the state, and are managed and operated at the local level.

Pretrial services include supervision of defendants, treatment services, drug testing, maintaining residence and employment, adhering to curfew, and blocking contact with victims. Pretrial officers are the first to assess defendants and play a critical role in identifying mental health and substance abuse needs.

The Virginia Community Criminal Justice Association, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, Virginia Association of Regional Jails, and the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys also oppose the bill.

VACo Members – please call your legislators now to oppose HB 997 (Gilbert).

KEY CONTACTS

House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1: Gilbert (Chairman), Bell, Robert B., ClineAdams, L.R., Collins, Watts, Herring, Mullin

VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere

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