Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Community Justice Council

Pretrial Subcommittee Initiatives

Since 2014, the CJC-Pretrial subcommittee has engaged in numerous initiatives and participated in national networks.

Capstone Pretrial Data Model

The Capstone project connected data from law enforcement agencies, the Dane County Sheriff's Office, Pretrial Services, and the Courts to identify how individual people move through the pretrial justice process. Data usually cannot follow the individual person; it is usually limited to aggregates at the each step, and this data model is an innovative approach to better understanding pretrial system. This initiative was funded by the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge and received technical assistance and support from Urban Institute. 

Press Releases

Cash Bail & Signature Bonds

Signature bonds are pretrial release agreements between a defendant and the court without financial conditions so that a defendant can be released into the community prior to trial. Cash bail is also a pretrial release agreement, in which someone can pay a certain amount of money (determined by a court commissioner or a judge) to be released into the community prior to trial. Regardless of whether someone is released on a signature bond or on cash bail, they still can have other conditions of release, such as Pretrial Services supervision, drug testing, or no contact orders. In Wisconsin, all defendants are entitled to being assessed cash bail (i.e. someone cannot be detained without being assessed some amount of money that they could pay to be released). 


Wisconsin Legislation regarding Cash Bail

Jail Population Review Team

Jail Population Review Teams are collaborative, inter-agency teams of stakeholders who review the jail roster for people who could potentially be released. This is part of the CJC's goal of decreasing the Dane County jail population.

Snapshot of Pretrial Jail Population

Public Safety Assessment (PSA)

The Public Safety Assessment (PSA) is an actuarial assessment that estimates failure to appear in court pretrial, new criminal arrest while on pretrial release, and new violent criminal arrest while on pretrial release. Use of the PSA, in combination with other pretrial improvements, is associated with improved outcomes such as higher rates of pretrial release and reduced use of financial conditions of release. These outcomes do not negatively impact crime or court appearance rates.

Randomized Control Trial with Access to Justice Lab at Harvard Law School

Partnership with Advancing Pretrial Policy & Research (APPR)

Quarterly Reports:


Pretrial Services

Pretrial Services provide support to and supervise defendants who are released prior to their trial. Pretrial Services employs social workers to connect clients to resources, such as behavioral health services and certified peer support specialists, and to supervise clients through drug testing, electronic monitoring, and regular contact. Pretrial Services also reports to the courts. As of 2022, Pretrial Services is its own department in Dane County; previously, it was under the Clerk of Courts.

Reports and Presentations