Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Court Program to Save Fulton $5.5 Million

A tough new pretrial release supervision program that begins April 1 is expected to save Fulton County taxpayers more than $5.5 million a year in jail costs.

The new Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) which was recently funded by the Fulton County Commission will provide rigorous supervision of defendants who don’t qualify for release under existing criteria.

The Superior Court of Fulton County’s Pretrial Services will operate the new program. Over the past decade the Court’s Pretrial Services program has racked up an impressive record of reducing jail costs while ensuring that more than 95 percent of program defendants show up for all scheduled court hearings.

The new ISP will supervise about 150 additional defendants per month.

Candidates for the program are:

 Youthful defendants charged with non-violent crimes that the Judiciary deem appropriate for release if heightened supervision is available.
 Defendants whose community ties cannot be “verified” or those who have not established a six month residency in the Atlanta metropolitan area
 Defendants, with little or no criminal history, charged with property crimes who do not meet normal pretrial release criteria.
 Defendants referred to the ISP by a judge

ISP release requirements may include:

 In-person office contact twice a week
 Weekly field visits to defendant’s home/employer
 Curfew
 Electronic Monitoring
 Seek full-time employment if not already employed.
 Attend in-house life skills programs or community service programs.
 Be employed or actively seeking employment or school
 Defendants without high school diploma must enter GED program
 Social service agency referrals where appropriate
 Immediate sanctions in response to program infractions

The ISP will immediately notify the Court, District Attorney, and Defense Counsel of any violations of release conditions.

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