Who Is A Pre-trial Services Officer and How To Become One?

It has been estimated that around 300 jurisdictions in the US court systems have pre-trial service programs. This program is included in the federal, state and county court systems. A pre-trial service program is run for someone who is accused of a crime until and has not been proven guilty. 

Furthermore, the pre-trial service programs of federal, state and municipal jurisdiction courts are staffed by the pre-trial services officers who represent the accused. Some similar job titles in the county courts include pre-trial interviewers, federal pre-trial attorneys, intake officers, pre-trial investigators, pre-trial program specialists, assistant pre-trial officers, and many more. 

It is considered that the primary roles and tasks for the pre-trial services officer is to perform and execute various background investigations of defendants and accused. In addition, the officer along with his team makes recommendations and suggestions on their behalf to the courts claiming whether they should remain in custody until proven guilty or should be released on bail. All of these meetings and court hearings are supervised under the pre-trial services department while they await trial and orders.

In this article, we have discussed what are the responsibilities of a pre-trial service officer along with discussing how to become one. 

What Do Pre-Trial Service Officers Do?

It is stated by the courts of the United States that a pre-trial services officer has to serve as a responsible law enforcement officer in the judiciary system. The pre-trial services officers are expected to work on the frontlines of the offender supervision. They are expected to dependably assist and help the administration of justice along with promoting safety of community in the department.

Typically, some other duties of the pre-trial services officer includes:

  1. To gather all the information about the defendant, including the family life, education, employment, physical and mental state, financial status, substance use, permanent address, and other important information.
  2. To conduct the defendant’s interview, individuals associated with the defendant, such as family, friends, etc. 
  3. To perform background checks of the criminals and review their relevant records and information, including their employment, education, address, etc. 
  4. To administer different tests on the defendant and criminal such as drug, alcohol, or substance use
  5. To maintain case files
  6. To prepare and manage reports for officials of court
  7. To outline recommendations for the release and bail of the defendant
  8. Providing conditions in case of release
  9. Supervising in person meetings and phone call conversations
  10. To help the defendant receive physical and mental support 

Qualifications of Pre-trial Service Officer

The qualification required to become a pretial services officer may vary a little bit based on the jurisdiction and employer. However, a degree in Criminal Justice is necessary. Other related fields are, Psychology, Criminology, Social Services, etc. 

Along with that, at least 3 years of experience is required working for a community correction, counseling centre, criminal justice, law enforcement, or above mentioned related fields (preferred) etc. 

The interviewer for the job might also ask about the knowledge of casework, techniques of investigation, criminal justice system, regulations, guideline, etc. 

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