Felony Pretrial Intervention Program
The Felony Pretrial Intervention Program is an alternative to traditional court prosecution. The main goal of the program is to reduce recidivism by requiring defendants to complete treatment programs that are targeted to their individual needs. Participation in this program can produce better outcomes for our community while also managing taxpayer funds more efficiently.
Public safety is paramount. For that reason, violent offenders and others who pose a substantial risk to reoffend will not be allowed to participate in this program.
Crime victims will receive restitution faster than with traditional court prosecution.
Defendants will be selected based on numerous factors, including the current charges, their overall criminal history, the amount of loss they caused in the current crime, the input and views of the crime victims, and evidence-based risk assessment tools.
The “Thinking For a Change” Program which is used by criminal justice organizations around the country – including the Maricopa County Probation Department and the Maricopa County Jails – will be the core curriculum for the cognitive treatment component of this program.
This program will be “user-funded,” which means that individuals who will get the most benefit from the treatment program – the defendants – will bear the costs of the program. Research has demonstrated that people are more successful in treatment programs if they have a financial stake in their treatment.
The program will be assessed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that the primary goal of reducing recidivism is being achieved and that justice is being done in individual cases.
Who is Eligible to Participate?
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case, defendant-by-defendant basis. This program is intended for offenders with minimal criminal history who are willing to do the hard work necessary to get back on track and become productive members of our community. To participate, an offender must admit to their criminal conduct, agree to make full restitution to all victims, and agree to the timely completion of all treatment programs as directed by their case manager.
To participate in the program, a defendant must agree to pay full restitution to all victims. To ensure that full restitution can be paid before the program is completed, restitution must be easy to determine and cannot exceed certain amounts. Participants in the program must agree to pay at least 50% of the total restitution within their first month in the program. Victims will receive restitution much faster under this program than they would with traditional court prosecution.
Program Benefits for Participants
In addition to benefitting the victims of crime through the prompt payment of restitution and the community by reducing recidivism, the individual participants also benefit by having the opportunity to complete significant treatment programs that are based on scientifically proven rehabilitation strategies. Successfully completing the program also allows the offender to avoid a felony conviction. Once a person successfully completes the program, the criminal case will be completely dismissed.
Program Requirements and Costs
After a complete review of the case and consultation with any victims, the prosecutor will determine if the program is appropriate. If a prosecutor offers the program and a defendant agrees to participate, the prosecution of the case will be suspended for one year. The defendant will then report to the service provider, who will use scientifically validated tools for determining the specific treatment needs for each individual defendant. Each defendant will be required to complete their individualized treatment plan as directed by their case manager. Costs of the treatment sessions will be paid by the individual defendant on a “pay as you go” basis and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will work with the service provider to ensure that willing participants are not refused due to a genuine inability to pay.
What happens if someone is not successful?
This program is challenging and defendants will be required to apply themselves and fully embrace this unique opportunity. The service provider will monitor each defendant’s progress in the program and, if an individual is not actively participating in their treatment plan, prosecution will be resumed. If convicted, the defendant will face the full range of consequences provided by law for their crime which can include probation, jail time, fines, and prison.