WHAT IS NYAPSA?
NYAPSA is an organization of
professionals who are dedicated to the advancement of pretrial-release
services and community-based, non-incarcerative
alternatives for the disposition of criminal cases.
In 1978, the pretrial practitioners in New York State formalized their
network by establishing the New York Association of Pretrial Service
Agencies (NYAPSA). The founders of the Association saw a need to plan a
strategy for addressing jail overcrowding, and to demonstrate the effect
that Pretrial Release and Pretrial Diversion programs could have on the
quality of justice in New York State. Collectively, the expertise of
individual practitioners, politicians, members of the judiciary, and
criminal justice planners was brought together by NYAPSA to address issues
that directly affect the delivery and expansion of pretrial-release
services in the state.
NYAPSA's history of networking and involvement in statewide issues is rich.
Its association has been a state and national leader in the pretrial field.
NYAPSA has worked with the New York State Association of
Counties (NYSAC); the New York State Defender's
Association (NYSDA); the National Association of Pretrial
Service Agencies (NAPSA); the Pretrial Services Resource
Center (PSRC); and the Division of Probation and Correctional
Alternatives (DPCA) to provide training, respond to legislation,
and to provide an open forum for debates on important issues.
NYAPSA was very involved in writing the National Standards and Goals for
Pretrial Release and Pretrial Diversion. These standards were studied by an
advisory committee established by DPCA and were followed by statewide
hearings to establish standards for the new ATI Pretrial Release programs.
The standards produced were very similar to our national pretrial
NYAPSA's Board of Directors is comprised of individuals from each of the
four major geographic regions of New York State. They represent a diverse
group of active members.
Justice & public safety through
informed judicial decisions
WHAT ARE PRETRIAL-RELEASE
Pretrial-release services began as
an outgrowth of the bail-reform movement here in New York State. In the
early 1960's, the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City found that
many indigent defendants were held in detention for long periods on low
The Manhattan Bail Project (which was created and overseen by the Vera
Institute of Justice) found that most pretrial defendants with
community ties, a job, and family roots could be released without bail on
their own recognizance (ROR) with relatively low failure-to-appear risk. In
fact, defendants released on ROR returned to court as often as, or more
likely than, those released on bail. The project was very successful and
became the foundation for hundreds of pretrial programs nationwide.
With the realization that some defendants needed more than just supervision
to prevent a return to crime, diversion and alternative sentencing projects
were later developed. Today, pretrial services use a full spectrum of
resources in their supervision and monitoring models, including:
employment, education, mental health, shelter, and substance-abuse
Diversion, alternative sentencing, substance-abuse treatment, and
employment programs are all outgrowths of the pretrial-service strategy.
Pretrial-service programs are operated by both nonprofit organizations and
probation departments, and are proven cost-effective ways to assist courts
and law-enforcement officials. This is done by screening, evaluating, and
monitoring defendants who can safely be released back to the community.
Pretrial Services save scarce
funds, reduce crime, and
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF
agencies are designed to intervene and work with defendants at any point
from arrest through final disposition. Services include: providing the
court with verified information about defendants to help in pretrial
release or sentencing decisions; providing supervision and monitoring of
defendants upon release; securing substance abuse treatment and employment,
education, shelter, and health services.
Pretrial-service agencies are important to New York State and its
communities because they play a role in guaranteeing some of the
fundamental justice issues that this country was built on. New York State
has experienced an explosion in the number of people held in local jails
and state prison. Cities, counties, and the State are faced with the
staggering cost of prison cell construction. Pretrial service agencies
provide the information needed for judges to make reasonable decisions
regarding pretrial release and incarceration.
Pretrial-service agencies provide the Court with pertinent information,
while offering a defendant a chance to address the issues that brought him
or her to the criminal-justice system.
Pretrial programs emphasize the defendant's obligation to return to court
and to comply with the conditions of sentence or release. Defendants who
are employed can keep their jobs and, therefore, continue to support their
families and contribute to their communities. This enforces a sense of
personal responsibility which is not available in incarceration.
Pretrial-service agencies provide information to the Court so that it can
decide who can be safely released back into the community.
In an era of severe budgetary
belt-tightening and reduction in public services, pretrial service agencies
save Counties and the State millions of dollars annually. Pretrial services
are much less expensive than incarceration, and are more likely to offer
rehabilitative services. Costs are reduced in many ways:
averting needless incarceration of low-risk defendants;
monitoring defendants and discouraging misconduct;
assuring on-time court appearance;
breaking the cycle of criminality through early intervention;
freeing prison space for serious and violent offenders.
make a difference
PRETRIAL SERVICES MAKE SENSE!