Pretrial Services - Judicial Business 2013
The number of cases opened in the pretrial services system, including pretrial diversion cases, equaled 108,705, a decrease of less than 1 percent from 20121.
In 40 percent of the cases opened, the major offense was related to immigration, the same as in 2012. Cases in which the major offense charged involved drugs accounted for 28 percent of pretrial services cases, cases associated with property offenses represented 13 percent, and cases dealing with firearms offenses represented 7 percent, the same percentages as the year before.
Pretrial services officers prepare reports for judges to use in determining whether to order the release or detention of defendants. The reports also give judges information useful for establishing appropriate conditions for released defendants. In 2013, officers prepared 104,562 pretrial services reports, a reduction of less than 1 percent from the previous year. Ninety-four percent of the reports were pre-bail reports.
A total of 99,300 bail determinations were made by the courts. Including immigration cases involving crimes such as illegal reentry, 28 percent of all defendants were released on bail. When immigration cases are excluded, the percentage of defendants released was 44 percent.
A total of 28,664 defendants were received for supervision by pretrial services, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year. The proportion of defendants in the country illegally continued to affect the number of persons received for supervision, because illegal aliens and defendants charged with immigration offenses are more likely to be detained given their higher risk of failure to appear in court. In 2013, 45 percent of defendants in pretrial services cases were illegal aliens, the same as one year earlier.
For persons under pretrial services supervision, officers monitored compliance with the release conditions set by the courts, provided necessary support services (such as substance abuse treatment and location monitoring), and informed the courts and U.S. attorneys of apparent violations of release conditions. A total of 31,460 defendants were released with specified conditions. The release condition ordered most often was pretrial services supervision, which was imposed on 88 percent of defendants released, down from 90 percent in 2012. Substance abuse treatment and testing were ordered for 36 percent of defendants. Substance abuse testing alone (without treatment) was ordered for 16 percent of defendants, up 1 percent from 2012.
Pretrial diversion is a period of supervision proposed by a U.S. attorney and agreed to by a defendant as an alternative to the prosecution of criminal charges in federal court. Diversion preserves prosecutorial and judicial resources for more serious criminal matters. In 2013, the number of pretrial diversion cases activated decreased 27 percent to 703 and accounted for less than 1 percent of activated cases.
Over the past five years, the number of pretrial services reports prepared has risen nearly 4 percent, and the number of persons interviewed has decreased 9 percent to 58,222 (not all defendants are interviewed–defendants may decline to be interviewed, and sometimes interviews are not possible–but for each defendant, a pretrial services report is usually written).
1 In January 2014, different data for pretrial services were published that subsequently have been revised; the pretrial services data provided in this report are to be considered the official data for the 12-month period ending September 30, 2013.