After an extensive national application process, Thurston County was selected as one of seven Research-Action Sites to participate in the Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research initiative! This initiative brings stakeholders from across the county together to identify how the county can improve our pretrial services system in ways that maximize court appearance and pretrial release, while maintaining community safety and working to eliminate disparities in pretrial policies and practices.
One way the county is working toward these goals is by validating the Public Safety Assessment for Thurston County. This initiative will help ensure the Public Safety Assessment is the right tool for our county and identify other improvements we can make to our pretrial services system.
The number of individuals admitted to jail in the U.S. every year.
The number of people held in jail before their trials every day in the U.S. - often because they can't afford bail.
The amount spent in the U.S. every year to jail those who haven’t been convicted of any crime.
Our Mission, Vision and Values
A fair and just pretrial system that protects our community.
To enhance public safety while simultaneously maximizing court appearance and pretrial release.
- Collaboration: Commitment to actively partner in order to achieve the mission and vision.
- Accountability: Responsibility and commitment to complete the work at hand to achieve a successful outcome.
- Equity: Stakeholders are dedicated to equitably achieving a common goal, which demands compromise amongst competing perspectives.
- Fair: Equal-handed – free from bias, prejudice, favoritism, and self-interest.
- Safety: The responsibility to protect members of the community from harm inflicted through criminal behavior.
• District and Superior Courts
• Sheriff’s Office
• Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
• Pretrial Services Department
• Public Defense Department
• City of Lacey Police Department
• City of Olympia Police Department
• Board of County Commissioners
Understanding Pretrial Services in Thurston County
Locally, pretrial services is a department within Thurston County that provides information to the courts and counsel to help inform decisions about conditions of release for defendants awaiting trial. Pretrial services staff do this by interviewing a defendant and completing a pretrial assessment. The focus of the interview and assessment is to help determine the likelihood an individual will remain crime free while on pretrial release and appear for future court hearings. If a defendant is released before their trial, pretrial services staff may also supervise the defendant, conduct periodic check-ins, and monitor any other conditions of release declared by a judge.
The Beginning of the Pretrial Phase of Criminal Justice
Law Enforcement is the beginning of the pretrial justice system in Thurston County. When officers suspect someone of a crime, they have several actions they can take.
• Take no action/offer a warning
• Issue a citation
• Offer diversion from arrest
• Arrest and take to custody
In Thurston County, Law enforcement officers who think someone may have an improved outcome through a case management option can easily make a referral to the county’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. This referral diverts people from a traditional path to justice and toward services that can help people implement life-long changes.
Pretrial Assessments and how They Impact Pretrial Release Decisions
Pretrial release decisions rest with the judge and must be determined with the full evaluation of information. Tools like a pretrial assessment can provide pertinent information to help judicial officers make these decisions. In addition to providing the Court with information, Pretrial Services helps people who have been charged, but not convicted, with a crime follow any conditions of release a judge requires while they await their court dates.
Becoming an APPR Research-Action Site
"We are really excited to be one of the [seven] sites that were selected. Our team is very excited about this project, even though we know it’s going to be a lot of work. Here in Thurston County we really believe in using evidence-based practices and data to drive our policy and procedures. We’re fortunate here — our criminal justice stakeholders have previously collaborated on multiple occasions to improve our criminal justice system. So this seemed like something that would tie in with where we need to go. Arnold Ventures’ goals align with the work that we have been doing to redesign our pretrial services systems." - Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller
You can read more about Judge Schaller's perspective of this initiative at: https://bit.ly/2zhVOXD.
Support for APPR
Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) is supported by Arnold Ventures and is a member of the National Partnership for Pretrial Justice. You can learn more about APPR, pretrial services, and the public safety assessment at: https://advancingpretrial.org/.
The National Partnership for Pretrial Justice interviews Thurston County's very own Pretrial Services Director, Marianne Clear, about how the COVID-19 pandemic helped improve monitoring, supervision, and communication with clients, resulting in a more accessible and equitable system.
Arnold Ventures interviews Thurston County's very own Judge Christine Schaller about the county being selected as a Research-Action Site and what we hope to achieve.
For more information, please contact Marianne Clear, Thurston County Pretrial Services Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (360) 867-2999.