Thu
Oct 24 2019
08:32 am

The Knox County Sheriff's Office says it is working to get more people accused of low-level crimes released while awaiting trial. The Knox County Public Defender says there are still too many people sitting in jail just because they can't afford bail.

The caseload for the sheriff's Pretrial Services program has more than doubled this year, to about 1,140 cases earlier this month.

“We assess approximately a thousand people a month now at the magistrate level,” said Todd Cook, who directs the program for the Sheriff’s Office. “Last month, in September, 210 people were released to pretrial.”

But Public Defender Mark Stephens said, "I think we are grossly underutilizing pretrial (release), because we create a program for who should be released and when they should be released, and then they create 15 exceptions to that.”

At the link (for subscribers): a look at the program, its potential impact on jail overcrowding, and the experience of a similar but more robust program in Nashville.

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