In supervising defendants, officers serve as agents of the court ensuring that released defendants comply with the court-ordered release conditions, thereby assisting with their needs pending trial while promoting law-abiding behavior. Specifically, the Pretrial Services Officer’s supervision duties include: conducting regular interviews with defendants in the Pretrial Services Office and at their place of residence; verifying they are employed or seeking employment; monitoring their compliance with drug and alcohol treatment or mental health counseling; arranging for educational or vocational training for them; assisting them in finding employment, and referring them to appropriate community resources.
In instances where a defendant needs 24-hour monitoring in the home or elsewhere in the community, Pretrial Services supervision may also include home confinement with or without electronic monitoring. Our newest and most state-of-the-art form of electronic monitoring involves tracking the movements of defendants by using Global Positioning Satellite technology (GPS). This real-time monitoring of the defendant’s compliance with restrictions on his/her whereabouts provides an added measure of defendant accountability.
It is the duty of Pretrial Services to inform the court of any violations the defendant incurs while on bond. Should the defendant fail to report to Pretrial Services as instructed or not comply with any of the court-ordered conditions, he/she may be brought before the judge for stricter conditions or remanded back into custody.
Benefits of Supervision
Community-based supervision of defendants provides an important and significant benefit as a major cost-saving alternative to jail or prison. It costs approximately $77 per day to house a defendant in the federal prison system as compared to less than $8 per day to supervise a defendant in the community.
An effective program of supervision helps protect the public by reducing the risks that persons under supervision will commit future crimes, while providing necessary services to assist the defendant in coping with daily issues and problems pending completion of the federal criminal case. As an alternative to incarceration, pretrial supervision allows federal defendants to remain with their families, maintain employment, receive needed services, and provide support for them to be productive members of society.