Project

Tuolumne County, CA Pretrial Project

Overview

In February 2020, CEPP staff and consultants began working in partnership with the local courts in Tuolumne County (CA) to facilitate and lead an assessment of the pretrial system and to implement the Public Safety Assessment (PSA). Tuolumne County successfully launched the PSA in July 2020. CEPP continues to work with the county on other pretrial improvements as well as overseeing PSA quality assurance and fidelity. 

Our Approach

CEPP started working with Tuolumne County in February 2020. Leading up to the implementation of the PSA, a team of CEPP staff and consultants conducted on-site training for pretrial staff and justice partners on topics such as the appropriate use of pretrial assessment, the role of the PSA within broader pretrial decision making, pretrial legal principles, empirical research on pretrial practices, and scoring the PSA. CEPP staff also supported the local policy team as they completed the activities required to implement the PSA, including developing a local list of violent offenses, creating a local matrix of pretrial release conditions, devising a violation response guide, designing a pretrial assessment report, and compiling a PSA scoring manual. To support the judiciary, CEPP staff developed a bench book as a quick reference for their pretrial program practices and substantive information on the PSA. 

The county launched the PSA in July 2020. CEPP continues its support by helping to identify other areas of pretrial improvement and to ensure fidelity. CEPP worked with court staff to develop a comprehensive process of quality assurance and a system of measuring pretrial performance. CEPP staff also developed a messaging toolkit to assist the justice partners with engaging the public and media.

The Impact

Through this work, CEPP helped Tuolumne County enhance its administration of pretrial justice by:

  • Ensuring that all people booked into their jail are assessed using a pretrial assessment
  • Implementing supervision strategies that assist people in succeeding while on pretrial release
  • Developing and tracking performance measurements to evaluate their pretrial program and identify any disparities 

With these new policies and practices, the county is maximizing release for those booked into jail by expanding the use of release on recognizance and supervised release. The county is also focused on helping people succeed by using the least restrictive release conditions and by responding to violations in ways that do not result in pretrial detention.