The Pretrial Services Unit is funded by the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) and was first implemented in 2016. The three (3) Probation Assistants (PA) assigned to the unit conduct pretrial assessments. The Merced County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for supervision of defendants released on supervised release according to their risk level. Staff utilizes the Virginia Pretrial Risk Assessment Instrument (VPRAI) to assist in the investigation and evaluation of a defendant’s risk level of failing to appear in court and re-offend while on pretrial release while maintaining the presumption of innocence and providing protection to the public. The Pretrial Services Unit assesses defendants five (5) days per week and completes reports at the request of the Merced County Superior Court, providing the Court with information to assist with release decisions based on evaluated risks.
The VPRAI is an objective research-based instrument that is a good predictor of a defendant’s level of risk of failure (failure to appear and/or new arrest) if released pending trial.