The Pretrial Services Unit is funded by the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) and SB 129. The three (3) Probation Assistants and one (1) Probation Officer assigned to the unit conduct pretrial assessments and provide program services and supervision of the defendants while on pretrial release according to their risk level. Pretrial staff utilizes the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) to assist in the investigation and evaluation of a defendant’s risk level of failing to appear in court and reoffending while on pretrial release. Defendants will download the SmartLink mobile app to their smartphones which will send them court reminders. Defendants who do not have a smartphone will be provided one at no cost. The Pretrial Services Unit completes reports at the request of the Merced County Superior Court, providing the Court with information to assist with the release decisions. In addition, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) and Probation have partnered to develop a robust program for defendants who may suffer from mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders while their criminal proceedings are pending. BHRS will focus on assessments, brief interventions, linkages, referrals, and coordination of care for pretrial defendants to reintegrate into the community upon release. The Merced County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the supervision of those defendants that have been released on electronic monitoring.
The PSA is an objective research-based instrument that is a good predictor of a defendant’s level of risk of failure (failure to appear and/or new arrest) if released pending trial.