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Pretrial Service Agencies: An Epic Fail

Monday, August 6, 2012

failBelow is the third installment of a series on the failures of Tarrant County’s Pretrial Service Agency.  This last article examines the way that these government funded criminal welfare programs calculate their failure to appear rates.  While the bail industry calculates a “failure to appear” (FTA) as the defendant missing any one court date, no one really knows how pretrial service agencies calculate their rates.  However, the head of the Tarrant County pretrial release sheds some light on the fuzzy math.  Apparently, these pretrial service agencies calculate a FTA as only one event against all court appearances for that defendant.  So if a defendant goes to 3 out of 4 court appearances, and skips out on the final appearance, they consider that a 25% FTA, while the bail industry would consider that 100%.  Here is the best part…even with the fuzzy math that varies from agency to agency, the bail industry has always and continues to outperform pretrial service agencies as the most effective way to ensure a defendant shows up for court.  Read the article below.

Original article: Pretrial release program uses discredited gauge of success