Judicial Council Funds 16 Pretrial Pilot Programs
August 15, 2019
Last week, the Judicial Council awarded millions of dollars to fund pretrial projects in 16 trial courts throughout the state. This year’s state budget earmarked $75 million to the Judicial Council to launch and evaluate two-year pretrial projects in local trial courts.
As directed by the Legislature, the projects aim to increase the safe and efficient release of arrestees before trial; use the least restrictive monitoring practices possible while protecting public safety and ensuring court appearances; validate and expand the use of risk assessment tools; and assess any bias.
The approved projects are:
NEW / EXISTING
|Alameda||$14.4 million||Restore program|
|Kings||$1.12 million||New program|
|Los Angeles||$17.3 million||Expand program|
|Napa||$1.7 million||Expand program|
|Sacramento||$9.59 million||New program|
|San Joaquin||No funds requested||Maintain program|
|San Mateo||$6.19 million||Expand program|
|Santa Barbara||$1.6 million||Expand program|
|Sonoma||$5.76 million||Expand program|
|Tulare||$3.77 million||Expand program|
|Ventura||$3.7 million||Expand program|
Each of the pretrial pilot projects will operate under existing law and incorporate release decisions made by judicial officers prior to arraignment—or at arraignment if a hearing is required—informed by a risk assessment conducted by county probation departments. Highlights of the approved pilot projects can be found here.
The pilot projects were recommended by the Pretrial Reform and Operations Workgroup, which was launched by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in January. The 12-person group includes trial court judges, appellate justices and court executive officers from courts of all sizes and from both rural and urban parts of the state.
A previous workgroup established by the Chief Justice to study pretrial detention released a slate of recommendations in 2017. Those recommendations included replacing money bail with a risk-based assessment and supervision program that bases decisions on whether to jail arrestees before trial based on their threat to public safety and likelihood of showing up to court.