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Pretrial Services

Pretrial ServicesPretrial Services assists the courts in making release-and-detention decisions that preserve public safety and defendants' civil rights. This is achieved through the following three key activities:

  • Standardized, validated assessments are conducted on qualifying defendants 
  • Objective data regarding risk of future criminal activity and failure to appear in court is provided to all parties in the judicial decision-making process.
  • Pretrial supervision services are provided for eligible defendants referred to the program.



Mecklenburg County is currently a pilot site with Arnold Ventures to use and test their pretrial risk-assessment tool - the Public Safety Assessment -- Court. This tool provides risk scores for each defendant based on variables that have been rigorously tested for their ability to predict future criminal activity and failure to appear in court. Bail recommendations are also guided by the 26th Judicial District Bail Policy. Both the assessment and recommendations serve to promote consistent and reasonable bond requirements. The recommendations offered by Pretrial Services are not binding to the Court.

In-custody defendants meeting program criteria and agreeing to the terms of supervision may be released to Pretrial Services by order of the judicial official.  Supervision requirements, which vary by risk level, may include weekly office visits, substance abuse screening, and referral to community resources. Defendants violating the supervision contract are terminated from the program and returned to jail.


2021 Pretrial Services Eligibility Policy

On October 19, 2021, the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to authorize the new 2021 Pretrial Services Eligibility Policy, as recommended by the District Court Subcommittee.

The 2021 Pretrial Services Eligibility Policy does the following compared to the previous policy:
  1. Removes the automatic exclusion of "high-risk" defendants;
  2. Removes the requirement that defendants be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to qualify for pretrial supervision. 


Bail Policy and Practice Training Modules 

In 2019, Criminal Justice Services partnered with the Pretrial Justice Institute to create a series of ten training and informational modules centered on the administration of justice during the pretrial period. Topics include the local bail policy, the Public Safety Assessment, key principles of pretrial justice, the role of Pretrial Services, and individualized modules for local partners (including Judges, Magistrates, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and law enforcement). 

The development of these modules is intended to create a general understanding of our local statutes, practices, and values. Mecklenburg County has committed to a more individualized and informed decision-making process, with additional, consistent training for all current and incoming justice staff. CJS is pleased to offer access to these trainings to the public and hope our community finds them informative. 

Module Links:

Bail Decisions in Mecklenburg County

The Public Safety Assessment (PSA)

Key Principles of Pretrial Justice

The Role of Pretrial Services

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What Pretrial Service Professionals Need to Know

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What Judges Need to Know

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What Magistrates Need to Know

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What the Prosecution Needs to Know

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What Law Enforcement Needs to Know

Pretrial Decisions in Mecklenburg County: What the Defense Needs to Know


National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies 

Pretrial Justice Institute

American Bar Association Pretrial Release Standards

Arnold Ventures

Mecklenburg County Bail Policy.pdf



Office Location:

Criminal Justice Services
715 E. 4th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Criminal Justice Services

Key Initiatives