Sacramento County to discuss pretrial release program at next week’s meeting

Robert J Hansen

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Sacramento County Probation(Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Sacramento, Calif.- by Robert J Hansen

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors (BOS) will be discussing two pretrial programs at next Tuesday’s meeting.

In 2019, Senate Bill (SB) 10 created a state program permitting courts to contract with probation departments to operate pretrial assessment and supervision services.

In 2020, California voters enacted a stay of SB 10 and the implementation of the provisions of the legislation. 

However, apart from the statutory prohibition on money bail outlined in SB10, several counties throughout California implemented their pretrial programs in place of money bail, Sacramento among them.

In California, approximately 64 percent of jail inmates are pretrial detainees awaiting trial, many counties, particularly those facing population caps, launched pretrial programs according to the BOS.

While the County touted the success of the programs, advocates for criminal justice reform and decarceration see it differently.

Decarcerate Sacramento, a coalition working to decrease jail populations, and shift county funds away from policing and incarceration towards community-based systems of care that promote community safety and health, say next week’s meeting is an opportunity to that not all pretrial programs have equitable outcomes.

“Most people never get an actual trial, and many are incarcerated for years without any charges,” Decarcerate Sacramento said via Tweet.

The programs work mainly through the public defender’s office and Sacramento County Probation.

Probation administers a risk-level assessment before those accused are released and when they are monitored and given check-in dates before court dates as if on traditional probation.

According to the BOS, 13 percent of participants are arrested again before their initial case is resolved.

“The term "Pretrial" refers to the policies and procedures occurring, presented, or engaged in after a person is accused of, arrested, or charged with an illegal act but before a court trial begins,” Decarcerate Sacramento said.

The county says one of the goals of the pretrial program, through the public defender, is to connect participants with mentorship and case management services including housing, job training, food, clothing, transportation resources, and cell phones. Working with this CBO, the Public Defender aims to reach and serve a greater number of

According to the BOS, Last year 1,806 individuals were related on pretrial, and staff found 83% needed social worker support, 51% needed mental health support, 43% needed substance use treatment support, 46% needed housing support, and 9% needed education or employment support.

Staff linked 462 people to mental health services, 243 to substance use treatment, and 252 to housing. 

The BOS will discuss the pretrial program at its meeting on Tuesday, May 10.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA
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