Funded in 1991 by the Polk Board of County Commissioners, Pre-Trial Release (PTR) was established to help alleviate overcrowding at the jails in Polk County. PTR saves the county money by reducing the amount of time a defendant spends in county jail prior to the disposition of their case.
PTR has three primary functions:
Screening An interviewer screens newly arrested defendants that are booked in at the county jail. The interviewer then makes a recommendation to the judge assigned to hear first appearance hearings as to whether the defendant should be released or detained. The judge, although not required to do so, usually follows the recommendation of PTR.
Background Investigations PTR is responsible for the background investigations of defendants upon book-in at the jail. If the judge is going to consider releasing a defendant at their First Appearance Hearing, which must be held within 24 hours of arrest, then the judge wants as much information as possible about the defendant. Previous criminal records are checked, the seriousness of the current offense is assessed, an attempt is made to contact alleged victims, and the defendants domestic and employment status are investigated.
Suprevision PTR is responsible for the supervision of those defendants released to the program with special court ordered conditions that may include: drug/alcohol evaluations, random urinalysis, anger management classes, domestic violence programs, psychological evaluations, curfews, and house arrest. A Supervised Release Officer is assigned to each case to ensure that the defendant complies with the court order. A defendants failure to abide by the court ordered conditions results in the revocation of pre-trial release and the issuance of an arrest warrant. Unless revoked, a defendant remains on pre-trial release until the disposition of the charge.
DEFENDANT TRACKER PROGRAM
In 1997, the Defendant Tracker Program was implemented as part of PTR. The tracker office receives notice of all defendants who fail to appear for traffic, misdemeanor and felony arraignments in all branches within the Polk County Court system. An arrest warrant is issued and attempts are made to locate these defendants, as soon as possible after the failure to appear occurs, to reschedule them for arraignments before the judge. These defendants are informed that a warrant is outstanding for their arrest, which can be withdrawn if they appear before a judge on a specified date and time. All warrants remain outstanding until the defendant actually appears before the court.
Back to Administrative Order No 2-12.1