The Pretrial Services Supervision Unit supervises felony and misdemeanor defendants who are granted pretrial release, which requires the defendant to comply with court-ordered conditions, such as drug treatment, psychological counseling, stay-away orders, or frequent reporting. If an individual is granted pretrial release, a Pretrial Services case manager will be assigned to the case and will monitor the individualís progress throughout the adjudication period. The goal of supervision is ultimately to prevent re-offense or failure to appear in Court, as well as to assist the defendant by providing positive support through intervention programs that will help the individual avoid criminal behavior, such as substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, or domestic violence counseling. Early intervention benefits the defendant, the defendantís family, and the community at large, and allows the defendant the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to comply with court orders.
Prior to the merger, State Court Pretrial Services had only three case managers to monitor over 2,300 misdemeanor supervision cases. Most defendants reported by telephone and case notes were not current. Without an automated case management system, caseloads quickly became unmanageable. Collaborating with the Solicitor General, cases that either had been disposed or had stalled in the system were closed. By diligently researching dispositions for these cases, the Misdemeanor Supervision staff was able to close 2,243 cases in 2011, ultimately phasing out all but 58 of the pre-merger caseload.
In 2011, the judiciary assigned 1,480 new defendants to the pending misdemeanor supervision caseload. The average number of misdemeanor defendants released to Pretrial Services each month was 123.
Of the total 1,538 defendants supervised by the Misdemeanor Supervision Unit case managers in 2011, 99% of the defendants were successful in complying with the terms of their pretrial release.
In 2011, the judiciary assigned 3,566 felony defendants to the existing supervision caseload of 1,317.
Felony Supervision continues to have an excellent supervision success rate. Of the 4,883 felony defendants supervised in 2011, 95% were successful in complying with the terms of their pretrial release.
Intensive Supervision provides a more rigorous form of pretrial release. While less costly than pretrial detention and more demanding than standard supervision, ISP meets the criminal justice objective of providing public safety.
Defendants released to the ISP program are required to meet with case managers a minimum of three times a week. Release conditions such as electronic monitoring, curfew, securing a GED, and anger management counseling are utilized to minimize the likelihood of flight risk and future criminal misconduct. The program was originally designed for a maximum of 160 clients with 40 defendants assigned to each case manager; however, in 2011, the Intensive Supervision Programís average caseload size was 189 defendants.
ISP case managers work an alternate work schedule to accommodate Saturday and evenings field visits. In 2011, the case managers made 3,220 field visits and approximately 324 referrals to the Community Resource Program to assist with GED services, job counseling, mental health counseling, and anger management counseling. In addition to monitoring defendants release conditions, the Intensive Supervision Program was successful in ensuring defendants appeared for all scheduled court events. In 2011, the ISP had a 96% success rate in court appearances.
The Community Resource Program has been assisting clients for almost three years. The mission of the program is to provide resources and services to meet the diverse needs of the Pretrial Services supervision clients. The program assesses the physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs of each referred client. Some of the referrals made are for employment opportunities, counseling services, mental health assessments, and housing. The Community Resource Program Coordinator also manages other programs that are under its auspices; New Client Orientation, Life Skills, Work Readiness, Anger Management, and the Active Parenting Program.
The Community Resources Program has collaborated with a a host of community partners including the Georgia Fatherhood Program, Atlanta Office of Workforce Development, Atlanta Urban League, Visions Unlimited, SMART Inc., Tangu Inc., Ponce DeLeon Counseling Services, The Parenting Center, Project Turnaround, Safehouse Outreach Center, SEVERE Outrageous Solutions Inc., Goodwill Industries of North Georgia, DeKalb County Office of Workforce Development, Hearts to Nourish Hope, PABS Inc., Fulton County Office of Workforce Development, The Adult Learning Center, ANA: A New Approach Counseling, Safehouse Outreach, ANKA Behavioral Health, Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness Office of Community Health Education & Promotion, etc.
Pretrial Services provides defendants in-house opportunities designed to improve their living circumstances and to deter future criminality. Based on the rehabilitative model that recognizes that there is a causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative needs of a defendant, Pretrial Service offers Work Readiness, Life Skills, and Anger Management classes. These in-house classes assist in addressing the social, cultural, and economic conditions that often result in the defendant's decision to commit a crime and seeks to help defendants solve the problems and ultimately help to deter future crime by the defendant.