It seems that we are constantly hearing about the subject of jail overcrowding. Of course, there are usually a few convenient scapegoats listed as the cause of this issue; everyone from the Bail Bond Industry to the jail staff to "The System". Over the years, we have witnessed a different cause of jail overcrowding: PreTrial Service programs.
Yes, yes, we've heard how PreTrial Service programs are here to save us all from jail overcrowding; but in truth, we've repeatedly witnessed how these programs actually contribute to the issue.
Now don't get us wrong; PreTrial Service programs do provide some benefits. There are certainly many defendants out there who absolutely need to be monitored as to their location, drug and/or alcohol consumption, etc.
However, some of the policies of these programs are holding defendants in custody much longer than is necessary. In Douglas County Colorado; for example, when a defendant has been ordered to have electronic monitoring, the jail staff are prevented from preparing a defendant's bond until the staff receives approval from PreTrial Services. Here's a scenario we have experienced on numerous occasions: a defendant is arrested for a DUI on a Thursday night, appears in court for their advisement on Friday, has a bond set and is ordered to wear an alcohol monitoring device.
Unfortunately, PreTrial Services in Douglas County requires that all arrangements for electronic monitors be completed by 2:30 pm. In these cases, there is often insufficient time to make the deadline imposed by PreTrial Services. This results in defendants being unnecessarily detained throughout the weekend; adding at least 2 days to their incarceration time. On holiday weekends this unnecessary detainment frequently hits 4 days.
Compounding this issue, is that if PreTrial Services deems that it is too close to their deadline, they will not allow the arrangements for the monitor to be made that day. So, if the family wants to handle the arrangements on a Tuesday afternoon in order for the defendant to be released the following morning, PreTrial Services in Douglas County makes the family come back the next morning and then starts the process. These inefficiency delays result in the Douglas County Sheriff's Department having to continue to house defendants who should have bonded out several days earlier.
Banks stay open past 5 o'clock on weekdays and are open for business on Saturdays; some even on Sundays. Given this; it would seem that the obvious solution would be to force PreTrial Services to at least work "Banker's Hours" LOL!
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