BOISE — A bill that would officially let counties require that defendants be supervised as a condition of their release while they await trial — while limiting the amount that counties can charge people for pretrial supervision — has passed the Senate.
Supervised pretrial release programs already exist in many Idaho counties, including Twin Falls County, but aren’t technically authorized in statute. SB 1300 would change that.
It would also cap the amount that counties can charge people on pretrial release at $2.50 per day, the same maximum that currently exists for pretrial probation fees.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Todd Lakey, a Republican from of Nampa, told the Senate on Friday that authorizing counties to require pretrial supervision could help alleviate crowding in county jails.
But in Twin Falls County, which charges the highest known pretrial supervision fees in the state, officials say that capping those fees could have the opposite effect. Twin Falls currently charges people on supervised pretrial release $5 a day: twice the proposed limit.
Kevin Sandau, director of probation services for Twin Falls County, previously told the Times-News that the $5 rate is necessary to cover the costs of the court compliance program.
The program costs about $115,000 per year, including materials, resources, training, office space and salaries for the county’s two pretrial supervision officers. Last year, it brought in approximately $70,000, with the remainder of the cost covered by the county.
Thirty Idaho counties currently have some type of supervised pretrial release program in place, with each varying when it comes to structure, costs, and fees. Some counties don’t charge defendants anything at all.
“The reality is there’s 44 counties and everyone does things a little differently,” Sandau said. “I know that not every county in the state puts [the same] kind of resources into the program.”
SB 1300 passed 26-5. It will now go to the House.