Project

Pretrial Training for the Chief Probation Officers of California

Overview

CEPP, through the Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) initiative, is partnering with the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) and collaborating with the Judicial Council of California (JCC) to develop and deliver a set of virtual pretrial trainings. The main audiences for the trainings are chief probation officers, probation staff assigned to their local pretrial program, and court staff.

Our Approach

In 2021, the California Legislature passed SB 129, which amended the state’s annual budget to provide millions of dollars of funding for “the implementation and operation of ongoing court programs and practices that promote the safe, efficient, fair, and timely release of individuals booked into jail.” With this infusion of funding, courts across the state contracted with their county’s probation department to implement or expand their pretrial assessment and monitoring programs.

CPOC and JCC contacted CEPP and APPR about developing a training series for the entire state about foundational pretrial principles, policies, and practices. Providing the state with consistent, credible legal and evidence-based information about pretrial justice is essential for the successful implementation of SB 129.

CEPP and APPR staff met collaboratively with leaders from CPOC and JCC to design the curriculum and schedule the training sessions throughout the 2022 calendar year. APPR launched a Pretrial Knowledge Survey in advance of the first training to gauge the current level of knowledge of pretrial practitioners in California. The training series covers:

  • An introduction to pretrial services
  • Pretrial assessment tools
  • Meaningful first appearance hearings
  • Supervision services
  • Empirical research on pretrial strategies
  • Supportive services
  • Pretrial performance measures
  • Communications
  • Community engagement

Over 300 people from probation, pretrial, and court agencies attended the first training in June 2022, and at least 44 California counties were represented.

The Impact

Through this training series, CPOC and JCC seek to help probation departments and judicial officers achieve the goals of SB 129. CEPP and APPR’s training series are educating participants on the policies and practices that contribute to the safe and timely release of people during the pretrial period.

Such education will help the state:

  • Develop pretrial programs that use consistent principles, policies, and practices
  • Ensure that pretrial programs base their operations on legal and evidence-based principles
  • Base pretrial decisions on the least restrictive conditions needed to ensure appearance and community well-being and safety
  • Focus on pretrial services that address people’s needs and help them succeed during the pretrial period