The Pre-Trial Release program began operations in 2010 using grant funds through the Federal Government. The practical aspects of the Pre-Trial program cannot be overstated. Essentially, while awaiting their case to be heard in court, eligible, carefully screened defendants can be released into the Pre-Trial program. The ultimate success of the Pre-Trial Program depends on adequate staff trained in dealing with probation matters to ensure clients are effectively monitored while awaiting trial or case disposition.
In 2011, The Pre-Trial Release Program won the Program of the Year Award from the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.
Generally, when a defendant is unable to make bond by way of a bail bond company and meets the criteria of the program, they are then given the opportunity to be released under supervision.
Assessment to Determine Eligibility
Pre-Trial Services will conduct assessment interviews of potential clients to determine if they are suitable to be released from incarceration. This assessment is normally conducted at the county jail. If all requirements are met and appropriate authorities agree to release the client from incarceration, a bond order is prepared which cites the conditions of release. A judge will then review and determine whether or not to sign the bond order. The client reads and signs an agreement to the conditions of the bond, then is released from incarceration.
Supervision and Case Management
The client will be supervised to ensure their coherence with all of the conditions set in the bond.
Pre-Trial staff maintains files on all clients and all contacts are documented and maintained in an active file until the case is closed.
Electronic Monitoring (EM)
As a condition of the bond, some clients will be ordered to participate in the electronic monitoring program. EM is a method of monitoring the whereabouts of clients electronically using ankle bracelets. The bracelet will send an electronic signal if a client enters into a restricted area or violate curfew.