Merrimack County Pretrial Services
Merrimack County Pretrial Service’s mission is to improve bail setting by providing complete, accurate, and neutral information to the court by identifying those for whom alternatives to pretrial incarceration are appropriate.
Arrestees released by the court on pretrial supervision will be monitored to ensure compliance with court ordered conditions set to reduce the likelihood of failure to appear or pretrial re-arrest.
INTRODUCTION TO PRETRIAL SERVICES
The courts are required to balance potentially conflicting goals when setting bail. Nearly all bail laws mandate a presumption of non-financial release, or release on the least restrictive means necessary for persons presumed innocent of a crime. However, these statutes also compel courts to ensure the justice system’s integrity, and in some instances, the public’s safety in setting bail.
Balancing the rights of the accused with public safety and system integrity concerns at bail setting requires appropriate information on community ties, prior criminal history, record of court appearance, and compliance with court imposed release. Bail decisions are enhanced further when a release option exists for defendants who cannot be released safely on their own recognizance, but who may not warrant pretrial detention.
The Merrimack County Pretrial Services Program is designed to provide the courts within Merrimack County with accurate and current defendant background information so that the judicial officers may make more informed decisions regarding pretrial release.
This is made possible through community-based supervision of court ordered conditions of release and related programs deemed necessary by the court. By conducting initial interviews and background checks on arrestees, Pretrial Services helps identify defendants who may qualify for alternative criminal justice programs, therefore streamlining the process for admission and decreasing the time the defendant spends in the criminal justice system.
In an effort to improve bail decisions and provide a means of release for appropriate defendants, Merrimack County Pretrial Services assists agencies and the criminal justice system by:
- Providing for public safety.
- Providing pretrial release services to all courts within Merrimack County.
- Providing current defendant information to courts that includes, but is not limited to:
- Length of residency
- Current employment
- Current School attendance (if applicable)
- Ties to the community (family, friends, etc. in the area)
- Criminal background information (criminal record checks)
- Department of Motor Vehicle information
- Providing levels of supervision consistent with perceived risk of flight and/or pretrial re-arrest and reporting any non-compliance or violation of the conditions of defendant’s bail order.
- Providing an early assessment of defendants who may qualify for criminal justice programs.
- Identifying and monitoring defendants' impending court appearance dates.