Olmsted County was announced a recipient of one of the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 2021 Achievement Awards in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety for the Olmsted County Pretrial Release Program. These NACo awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
Olmsted County officially launched its Pretrial Release Program on January 2, 2019. The goal of the program is to maximize release of individuals who are charged and before the court on a new criminal offense. The Pretrial Release Program helps reduce the jail population by offering alternatives to traditional incarceration pre-conviction. The program works to maximize release, public safety, and return to court.
“Pretrial Services works cooperatively with the Olmsted County District Court by providing the court with a validated risk assessment tool that equips decision makers with alternatives to incarceration,” said Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections Director Nikki Niles. “Olmsted County Pretrial Services also partners with other internal and external stakeholders to provide resources that assist clients with mitigating their risk to accrue additional criminal charges or miss court appearances.”
“The Pretrial Release Program gives prosecutors and judges a validated risk assessment to evaluate appropriate conditions of release. Without such an assessment and a supportive program, we could only guess at risk and used bail as a means to appease our concerns for ongoing public safety,” said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem. “We have also seen significant reduction in ‘failure to appear’ episodes as a result of pretrial services support.”
“While the Olmsted County Pretrial Release Program has only been inception for approximately two years, we are finding that just a small percentage of people in the program are reoffending … which speaks to the enhancement of public safety in our community,” stated Olmsted County Deputy Administrator of Health, Housing, and Human Services Travis Gransee.
The Olmsted County Board of Commissioners would like to thank the following individuals on the success of this program and congratulate them on developing an innovative program that is helping to improve the lives of people in this community:
- Travis Gransee, deputy county administrator of Health, Housing, and Human Services
- James Johnson, DFO Community Corrections program manager
- Judge Pam King, 3rd Judicial District Court
- Nikki Niles, DFO Community Corrections director
- Mark Ostrem, Olmsted County attorney
NACo President Gary Moore said, “Over the past year, county officials and frontline employees have demonstrated bold, inspirational leadership. This year’s Achievement Award winning programs illustrate the innovative ways counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.
Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.