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Virtual Tour of Kentucky Pretrial Services


Welcome to a virtual tour of our nationally recognized Pretrial Services Program!

This tour will lead you through everything from risk assessment to the criminal rules and statutes that guide the day-to-day operations of pretrial officers. You’ll see firsthand the value of using validated risk assessments and evidence-based decision making. You’ll hear from judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials. While the tour was designed for those in the pretrial justice field, we think others also will find the information useful.

We hope you enjoy this virtual tour.


Kentucky a National Model

Under the leadership of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Kentucky has become a national model for its approach to pretrial release. Kentucky’s process continues to gain favor as pretrial policy experts sound the alarm about the fundamental unfairness of bail bonding. These experts argue that a bail system based solely on a defendant’s ability to pay is a system that penalizes the poor and violates their civil rights.

Kentucky became a pioneer in pretrial reform in 1976, when it was the second of four states to outlaw commercial bail bonding. In addition, Kentucky was among the first states to adopt evidence-based practices as a result of penal code reform in 2011. And in 2014, Kentucky adopted a Public Safety Assessment-Court tool to help judges determine when defendants can safely be released pending trial.

Why a Virtual Tour

Kentucky’s successful pretrial program has attracted the attention of pretrial and justice professionals around the country. The Department of Pretrial Services has provided information on our risk-assessment tool and pretrial processes to more than 30 states.

An online tour offers an immediate and cost-effective way for us to share our experience with all who are interested.

If you're a pretrial professional, we hope this information will benefit your work. Many of the challenges you face may have already been addressed by our program and we encourage you to learn from our experiences.

If you’re taking the tour as a judge, prosecutor or other member of the justice system, you’ll be interested in the interviews with individuals who have worked in the system and helped shape the program into what it is today.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, this tour will help you understand the pretrial process.

The virtual tour is a reality thanks to grant funding from the State Justice Institute. We also appreciate the National Center for State Courts for the digital expertise that brought this project to life online.