OCA Certification FAQs


We would like to thank everyone who participated in the Pretrial Certification webinars and those who sent in questions. Questions discussed on the webinar and sent in are listed below.

If you have any further questions that do not appear, please send them to info@nyapsa.org.


Common Questions

Pretrial is an unfunded mandate on county level; how will ability or inability to fully support this effort financially affect a jurisdiction’s ranking?
Is RUS doable with such a small amount of available support for social work and services issues.
There is a large diversity of opinions and concerns about the pretrial process around the State. There will be a difference in ideas emerging about how pretrial defendants should be supervised.
Will there be a recognition of hiring and training needs? The questionnaire covers these area and policies.
With the Reform releasing more people, there will be a need to assess Principals and determine risk. This is a key issue in the questionnaire. Will there be a statewide assessment tool (as Compas was) for jurisdictions to use?
The section on interviewing arrested Principals asks questions about interviewing pre-arraignment and post-arraignment. There are times when programs do not have to specify if they are talking about pre- or post-arraignment
Can you explain the meaning of points given for performing certain tasks? Is there a negative aspect if a program does not achieving points in an area?
It seems a program gets points by alerting the court each time the arrested person fails to follow a judge’s release sanction. Isn’t pretrial supervision meant to get the arrested person back to court on his next court date? Doesn’t this switch the emphasis away from the instant case and start punishing defendants for minor infractions? The questions imply this instant reporting of all infractions should be the best practice.
In determining the range in miles of several pretrial locations to the courts, should we just insert the range of the farthest location from the court?
What is meant by satellite secondary pretrial program? We have a satellite/secondary location for county Pretrial Services, but we do not have a satellite/secondary pretrial programs.
Does your county already have an existing pretrial service agency? If yes, what type of pretrial services do you currently provide? What info is expected here - individuals are mainly RUS and monitored by our office?
Does your county have an electronic monitoring program, if yes describe the program? We use GPS monitors - what more information is required?
We inform the court, the prosecutor, and defense to review compliance with conditions or pretrial release and sentencing; but we do not provide information regarding release or detention. Is this all right?
What does the word “disclosure” mean in section C? The question reads: “Does your program/agency policy provide for disclosure to any of the following?”

February Webinar Questions

Can we include in our pretrial, anyone in an AO (Adolescent Offender) court, who has turned down voluntary services yet is released with conditions?
COVID restrictions have affected screening abilities. Will this be considered with the points system on the questionnaire?
CAP (Centralized Arraignment Part) court has affected the ability to screen individuals in the jail. Will this be considered?
What is the average number of clients supervised per year? Is this a total number per year we have severed, or an average number
Where did you say the Q & A would be posted?
Can you clear up “validated risk assessments” - are there some assessments that are available or is it county centric?
You mentioned the benefit to the defendants receiving services during the pretrial process. I recall the bail reform law indicating there can be no cost to the defendant. Has that changed? Are there workarounds that allow for services to be provided?
Might a two-track situation be set up inadvertently where indigent defendants can be directed to substance abuse treatment but defendants with financial means could not be directed to treatment at their own expense?
Relative to Risk Assessments, is the goal to have these assessments administered at Arraignment? Or some other time during the judicial process?
Is there any thought to train Judges to administer the risk assessment right at arraignment?
Should counties educate their judiciary individually, or is there an effort on OCA’s part to educate and steer Judges towards the use of pretrial services?
With multiple courts in each jurisdiction, how would it be possible to have someone in each court to administer the Risk Assessment?
Will you provide the various risk assessment tools you are collecting to our programs for review and consideration?
Is there a current risk assessment that OCA supports and prefers?
Wasn't there a discussion early on that a risk assessment score could potentially be generated when the criminal history information in the IJ Portal is requested by the Court at arraignment, based on the criminal history information, past bench warrants, past failure to appear, etc.?
For those small, rural upstate counties providing PTS that focus on appearance in court, and who receive PTS cases directly from first appearance in County Court or on a limited basis from CAP Court, we should anticipate that those counties that complete the survey would receive a one-year provisional certification?
How many counties are involved with Pretrial pre-arraignment vs post-arraignment assessment? Could the risk assessment solely determine how often a defendant should report for supervision?
What does it mean to be "committed to addressing" negative answers before the next application?

March Webinar Questions

For technical assistance is utilizing nyapsa.org the best way to reach out?
What is the process for validation of a risk assessment instrument (RAI)?
Who's the contact person at a university we would need to contact to validate?
Can we take parts of two validated risk assessments and put them together to gather the data for validation? Or should we use one specific validated risk assessment?
If we're not using a risk assessment, but complete an interview report for the court, can we answer “yes” to the question about “conclusions of the assessment interview being communicated” to the court.
When does OCA anticipate notifying pretrial service agencies about the re-certification status based on the survey results?
We have a decentralized court system with in-person staff assigned to several courts. How would we answer distance from court?
If someone has submitted the survey and after submission says, I should not have answered that another way. Is there anything that can be done about that?
There are some questions on the application that surround the issue of confidentiality. One question asks if your program or agency provides for disclosure of the confidential information. Does that apply specifically to having individuals sign consents for release of confidential in information?
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