COUNTY OF SAN MATEO
County Manager’s Office
DATE: June 30, 2003
BOARD MEETING DATE: July 15, 2003
Honorable Board of Supervisors
John L. Maltbie, County Manager
Proposed Responses to the 2002-2003 Grand Jury Report
Accept this response to the 2002-2003 Grand Jury report and recommendations concerning the Release On Own Recognizance Program (a.k.a. Pretrial Services).
The 2002-2003 Grand Jury issued a report on the County’s Pretrial Services Program on May 2, 2003. The County is mandated to respond to the Grand Jury within 90 days from the date that reports are filed with the County Clerk.
Beginning July 1, 2002 the Pretrial Services Program, which was previously administered through a contract with the Bar Association, was transferred to the Probation Department (Evaluation and Supervision) and the Sheriff’s Office (Jail Classification and Data Collection). The Grand Jury’s report deals specifically with the evaluation and supervision components of the Program.
Release On Own Recognizance Program
Concur. During the next fiscal year the Probation Department will work to improve the services provided, including the tracking of program performance (see response to Recommendation 5.2 below).
The Probation Department needs to meet its commitment to complete and implement the Pretrial Services policy and procedures by May 2003.
Response: The Department has completed its new policy and procedures protocol and it is operational. Over the next year the Department will continue to examine its policies and will make additional changes when it is deemed necessary.
The Probation Department needs to establish its own means of measurement that clearly tracks effectiveness of performance over time.
Response: The Department has established a database that will be operational in July. This database will provide the ability to measure the failure to appear rate, violation of Own Recognizance rate, treatment compliance and the number of investigations completed for the Court. This data will be made available to the 2003-2004 Grand Jury on a semi-annual basis.
The Probation Department needs to work with the Court to develop better qualification criteria that provides opportunity for the pretrial services officer to comment on the severity of the current crime and criminal history of the defendant in addition to the current numerical scale and point system when making a recommendation to release on own recognizance.
Response: The Department will begin a dialogue with the Court to find ways
to develop a more accurate way to assess a defendant’s suitability for release
on own recognizance. Clearly, the severity of the current crime is one of the
over-riding considerations when making a recommendation for release to the Court.
Additionally, the Department will continue to maintain a high level of supervision
by having face to face contacts with clients in the office, in their homes,
or places of employment, and will continue to take immediate action on any violations
that may occur.