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Federal Pretrial Release Services Pre-Trial Program Information



U.S. Federal Pretrial Services Frequently Asked Questions


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U.S. Pretrial Services Frequently Asked Questions

What does a U.S. Pretrial Services Officer do?

Title 18 U.S.C. 3154(1) states that the officer will:

Collect, verify, and report to the judicial officer, prior to the Federal pretrial release hearing, information pertaining to the pretrial release of each individual charged with an offense, including information relating to any danger that the release of such person may pose to any other person or the community, and, where appropriate, include a recommendation as to whether such individual should be released or detained and, if release is recommended, recommend appropriate conditions of release . . . .

The officer prepares a report that helps the Court make an informed release or detention decision. If the defendant is released, in general, pretrial services officers are responsible for: assisting persons under supervision in complying with conditions of release, monitoring compliance, providing necessary support services, and informing the court and the U.S. attorney of all apparent violations of conditions.

The objectives of supervision are to reduce the likelihood that persons on pretrial release will fail to appear on scheduled court dates, or commit crime, or otherwise pose a danger to any other person or the community.


What type of crimes are individuals arrested for in the federal system, which would place them on supervision with U.S. Pretrial Services?

The jurisdiction of federal courts in criminal cases is the authority of the court to hear a certain kind of case. Federal court jurisdiction in criminal cases is limited to those offenses Congress gives the courts the authority to hear. Most of the offenses Congress has authorized the federal courts to hear are defined in Titles 18 and 21 of the U.S. Code.


A federal crime must have some connection with the interest of the nation as a whole and not with just a particular state. The crime must be a violation of a criminal law passed by Congress. There are various categories of federal crimes. There are those crimes which affect certain areas that the federal government has the power to regulate under the Constitution such as banking practices, interstate commerce, and imports and exports. There are crimes which affect agencies of the federal government such as the Department of Transportation and crimes which occur on federal government property. In the latter instance, the Assimilative Crimes Act provides for federal prosecution of some crimes that would ordinarily be prosecuted in state court.

(The above information on federal crimes was gathered from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court, Court Reporter Desk Book resources site)


Does the U.S. Pretrial Services Office drug test individual who are placed on supervision?

Yes. In fact, the agency operates its own testing laboratory in the headquarter office in Albuquerque. The agency's focus on drugs-of-abuse testing is for the use amphetamine/methamphetamine, opiates, cocaine and marijuana. Specimens are collected at any one of thirty collections sites in the state of New Mexico and shipped to the in-house laboratory.


What services are afforded to individuals placed on supervision to the U.S. Pretrial Services Office?

Title 18 U.S.C. 3154 (4) allow the chief pretrial services officer to operate or contract for operation facilities for the custody or care of defendants including residential halfway houses, addict and alcoholic treatment centers, and counseling services. The Pretrial Services Office in the District of New Mexico utilizes two halfway houses, one residential treatment center and some 25 outpatient vendors who provide substance abuse and mental health counseling.











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