Location: SCR 357
Who is in Jail, Part II: Pre-Trial Detention
COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND COUNTY JAIL FUNDING AND OVERCROWDING SOLUTIONS
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01:41 PM -- Who is in Jail, Part II: Pre-Trial Detention
Maureen Cain, Policy Liaison, Office of the State Public Defender, introduced herself to the committee, noting her work as a criminal defense lawyer and her service on the Commission for Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ).
Ms. Cain described the incarcerated pre-trial population, noting that national estimates suggest 60 percent of county jail inmates are pretrial detainees. She provided a packet of information to committee members (Attachment A). She discussed the right to bail and the limits of that right. She continued to discuss bail reform, noting recent legislation supported by the CCJJ.
Ms. Cain discussed the types of release available to pre-trial detainees: personal recognizance (unsecured) bond, unsecured bond with additional conditions, bond with financial conditions (bail), real estate bonds, and, in some counties, pre-trial services programs. She provided examples of these types of release, and she described the role of bail bondsmen in posting bond. She discussed the pre-trial services programs in El Paso, Mesa, and Denver counties, and she noted other counties that offer these programs.
Ms. Cain discussed the Colorado Pre-Trial Assessment Tool (CPAT), provided in the information packet. She responded to committee member questions about how smaller counties assess risk without using the CPAT. She further responded to committee questions about how CPAT scores are applied. She noted the research behind the scores and risk levels.
Ms. Cain and committee members commented on the biases inherent in tools like the CPAT. She responded to questions about bail legislation, the most recent of which was passed in 2013. Ms. Cain discussed funding for pre-trial services, noting that Colorado does not fund them at the state level, but some states do. She discussed research on the effectiveness of pre-trial services programs.
Ms. Cain explained that there is no statewide time frame to bring people back to be charged, and she discussed the different time frames among jurisdictions. Ms. Cain estimated that the costs of all county jails statewide amount to around $480 million per year, accounting for as much as 25 percent of counties' budgets.
Committee members questioned Ms. Cain about the effects on public safety of pre-trial release and accelerated timelines for filing charges. She provided examples of different types of offenses and the resulting bond choices, and she discussed the fees associated with collecting bond.
Committee members discussed with Ms. Cain the timing of an individual's first appearance before a judge, including conducting phone hearings. Ms. Cain discussed bail practices and pre-trial services in Denver, in response to a committee member question. She noted the importance of minimizing jail bed days. She provided an anecdote about the process of releasing low-risk offenders from jail.
Ms. Cain responded to questions about counties' use of the CPAT. She noted that, for example, Arapahoe County uses its own validated assessment tool.