Pretrial Services operates for the provision of defendant supervision established under the authority of the Pretrial Services Act (PSA) specified in Section 19.2-152.2 through 19.2-152.7 of the State Code of Virginia. It is a goal of Norfolk Pretrial Services to reduce jail overcrowding while maintaining public safety.
The Pretrial Services division provides critical information, obtained through an investigative process, to judicial officials. The information is presented in the form of investigative reports.
These reports allow jurists more informed bail decisions by determining flight risk, and the potentiality of reoffending. The pretrial investigative process includes a screening, interview, collection and verification of background information, a criminal records check, a nationally validated risk assessment and a recommendation.
By statute, any person age 18 or over or persons under the age of 18 who have been transferred for trial as adults held in the Norfolk City Jail and charged with an offense, other than an offense punishable by death, who are pending trial or hearing are eligible for placement by judicial officials, only. Pretrial Services do not hold the authority to make bail release decisions.
Placements are made at different stages of the pretrial process to include the initial hearing with the Magistrate, preliminary or scheduled bail hearings. Defense attorneys must schedule bail hearings, or inmates may petition the court through the jail communications process. Pretrial staff are not involved in this process. However, judicial officials, court clerks and respective attorneys may request the presence of a pretrial report on the date of hearing.
Enhancing Public Safety
Pretrial Services enhances public safety through the provision of differential risk based community supervision as a condition of bail. Defendants approved for release by judicial officers are supervised by Pretrial Officers.
Conditions of supervision may include, but not limited to, alcohol/drug testing, substance abuse, and mental health treatment referrals. Additionally, community supervision facilitates a defendant's appearance on their respective court date(s). Thus, having a direct impact on the reduction of failure to appear rates.