Pretrial-release services began as a result of the bail-reform movement in New York State. In the early 1960's, the Vera Foundation, now The Institute of Justice, in New York City found that many indigent defendants were held in detention for long periods on low bail. The Manhattan Bail Project found that most pretrial defendants could be released on their own recognizance (ROR), without bail, with relatively low failure-to-appear risk. The project was highly successful and became the foundation for hundreds of pretrial programs nationwide. In 1978, the pretrial practitioners in New York State formalized their network by establishing the New York Association of Pretrial Service Agencies (NYAPSA).
Pretrial Release Services are intended to benefit everyone involved in the court system, providing counties with a safe way to ensure court appearance while guaranteeing liberty and autonomy to pretrial individuals.
Ensuring that nearly every arrested person can be interviewed by pretrial program staff, and utilizing a transparent system to provide information to the court that can facilitate a fair and efficient release decision.
Providing personalized supportive services to those who could use them, this program helps to keep people out of pretrial detention and in their communities.
Notification of Court Appearances
Distributing helpful information to people with upcoming court dates, and functioning as an accessible resource for answering questions and concerns about the pretrial process.
Pretrial Service Agencies in New York aim to create an effective criminal justice system and guarantee some of the fundamental rights that this country was built on.
Reduce Unnecessary Pretrial Detention
Pretrial detention is harmful to communities, unequal in its application, and usually unnecessary. NYAPSA carries the goal of reducing this practice while maintaining an efficient and safe justice system, one where arrested individuals are treated with fairness.
Provide Services Before Trial
In limited cases where a person requires assistance, pretrial service agencies have staff dedicated to assist clients in returning to court and successfully seeing their case to conclusion.
Promote Court Attendance
A cornerstone of New York's pretrial success is high court appearance rate, a trend that is facilitated by pretrial service agencies through notifications, help centers, and community outreach.
The NYAPSA Board of Directors is composed of leading experts in the field of pretrial justice. Board members bring experience with pretrial services in several capacities and from every corner of the state.
President- Craig McNair, Monroe County Pre-Trial Services
V.P. Release- Charlene Lestman, Monroe County Pre-Trial Services
V.P. Diversion- Jonathan Heller, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections
Treasurer- Aida Tejaratchi, New York City Criminal Justice Agency
Secretary- Sue Mowrey, Washington County Alternative Sentencing
Director at Large- Peter Kiers, Pretrial Consultant
Region I, Director- Catherine Alexander, New York City Criminal Justice Agency
Region II, Director- Russell Ferri, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance
Region III, Director-Angela Beightol, Niagara County Probation
Region IV, Director- Kathy McQuade, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections
Through decades of collaboration, NYAPSA has formed integral partnerships with leading organizations in the criminal justice system. This includes having a deep influence on the national standards as a charter member of NAPSA, as well as pursuing ambitious joint projects with other New York agencies.