Pretrial Services

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Compassion & Innovation At Work


Durham County’s Pretrial Services was established in 2006 to create a systematic approach for recommending release and community supervision for defendants who do not pose a risk to the community as they await trial.

The program was created with the goal of reducing the jail population while ensuring that defendants appear for their court dates and are not a public safety risk while under pretrial release.

Pretrial Services consists of three components: First Appearance, Pretrial Release and Supervision, and Court Date Reminders.

First Appearance

The release or detention of each defendant is determined by a judge at first appearance, and at this time bond amounts are reviewed.





Each year, Pretrial completes 4000 or more court summaries on persons before First Appearance Court.   

Pretrial Services worked with an advisory committee in 2019 to improve the first appearance decision-making process.  Part of this improvement was implementation of a locally designed Public Safety Assessment (PSA) that follows the Arnold Venture Public Safety Assessment Model. Pretrial staff prepare a comprehensive report for all defendants scheduled for first appearance. The report includes a complete criminal history and a public safety assessment with a recommended supervision level.

Defendants scheduled for first appearance who are willing and accessible are interviewed to provide the court with stability factors, community ties, mental health history and substance use disorder concerns. The judge then considers these factors when making a decision regarding bond.


Pretrial Release and Supervision




IR300 DCJC Pretrial Office



On average, 400 or more persons are released annually to Pretrial Services for supervision until court disposition.


Pretrial Supervision includes office and/or field contacts as deemed appropriate and referrals for services on an individual basis or as ordered by the court.  The supervision level is based on the suggested risk level on the risk assessment and conditions imposed by the court.

Risk Assessments are prepared for all defendants released onto Pretrial Supervision to provide an unbiased and objective manner in which to set supervision contacts and is completed using the criminal history information, community ties, and the mental health or substance abuse problems identified during first appearance screening.

One essential component of pretrial supervision is an electronic monitoring module for a small number of identified criminal defendants released from the Durham County Detention Center as an alternative to incarceration pretrial. Offenders are assigned to electronic monitoring by a judge and the length of electronic monitoring may last until case disposition or until the court has determined the defendant has exhibited compliance with court orders and demonstrated to the court that they pose a lower risk to the community.


 Court Date Reminders


 Pretrial defendants are offered the opportunity to sign up or opt-in to receive an automated court date reminder. Defendants who opt-in will receive a computer-generated text, email or telephone to inform them of an upcoming court date. Victims and/or witnesses may also use the court date reminder system by logging into and registering using the defendants name or docket number.

20 months after launching more than 11,000 have signed up to receive court reminders.





For additional information on Pretrial Services, please contact: 

Christie Long, Pretrial Program Supervisor

Phone (919) 560-0548

Fax (919) 328-6249

510 S. Dillard St, 4th Floor 4100, Durham, NC 27701