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Commonwealth's Counties

Pretrial Services Bill Gone for the Year

HB 997 (Gilbert) would repeal the Pretrial Services Act established in 1995. Repealing the Pretrial Services Act would require more defendants to remain in confinement in both local and regional jails, leading to increased jail overcrowding at a great cost to localities and the state.

There are 33 pretrial service agencies that serve 100 of 133 localities across the state, and are managed and operated at the local level. Pretrial services provide courts with information on whether to release a defendant back into the community, lower public safety costs, and provide important supervisory services while defendants await trial. By a unanimous voice vote, the bill was carried over for the year at the recommendation of the House Courts of Justice Committee’s Subcommittee #1.

Other pretrial Bills move forward
HB 996 (Gilbert) and SB 783 (Peake) require the Department of Criminal Justice Services to annually report to the Governor and the General Assembly on operating standards and biennial plan compliance across all pretrial service agencies. The House bill reported out of the House Courts of Justice Committee, 15-0. The Senate version has been referred to the same Committee.

VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere

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